In just 100 days’ time, Jeff Kincaid will be taking one of the hardest challenges of his life, running the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Jeff, who turns 53 just a day after the 26.2 mile race, is a former police officer who now works as a coach at the Academy of Gymnastics, a registered British Gymnastics club in North Somerset. A keen runner, Jeff has applied to run the marathon five times before, but he has never been successful in his application.
Now he is running on the behalf of our Foundation and he is ready to give it his all.
“I don’t underestimate the size of the challenge.” Said Jeff. “Between now and then there’s going to be some dark days, there’s going to be some hard days but that is ultimately part of the enjoyment. Once you complete the feat, which I hope to do, the sense of achievement will be made all the grander by knowing that the dark days, the wet and the cold, have led towards that moment.”
Four years ago, Jeff did his first and only marathon back in his hometown, Carluke, South Lanarkshire, after toying with the idea for a number of years. He ran alongside Ben Smith, the main who ran 401 marathons in 401 days.
“It just so happened that he was doing one in Scotland starting and finishing in my hometown over the Easter weekend and it was also my daughter’s birthday. If there is such a thing as fate, then that is surely it.
“That was singularly the most painful but exhilarating thing that I have ever done. I am glad I did the event four years ago as I thought I had trained but I clearly hadn’t trained well enough as it really hurt, and I don’t want to go through that again. I am a bit more educated on what to do this time and what to expect.”
There are a number of reasons why Jeff is running the marathon, many of which link to the ethos and the aims of our Foundation.
“To run on behalf of the Foundation was obvious for me. I have always been connected to gymnastics through my wife. I have lived gymnastics almost through osmosis for the last 25 years. When I retired the natural step then was to move into the gymnastics world and I got involved in coaching. The sport, more than any I know, is a foundation for life. If I can try and give something back through the sport to people who perhaps aren’t as entitled as others, then this is a great vehicle to do so.
“I am aware of all the great work that the Foundation do, and I am focusing on the Love to Move programme. 18 months ago, my mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. We are living under the dementia umbrella. My mother at the minute is fine but she knows that she has Alzheimer’s and we all know that there is no recovery and it is going to get worse.
“Personally, for me, 26th April is very significant. It’s the day before my birthday and I’ll be turning 53. It is also a big year for me as I lost my dad 26 years ago when he was 52. In my mind I am always aware that I am the same age as my dad when he died which is quite scary. There is a real poignancy that this is the last day of my 52nd year on Earth.”
With the race on the horizon, training is now well underway and many of Jeff’s friends and family are confident he’ll conquer the distance.
“All I have had is nothing but support. I have had people saying I am mad and that it is a crazy distance, which it is, but all of the club and all of the parents are behind me.
“The network of gymnastics is a tight community and people understand what is happening. I am excited to experience finishing and I can’t wait for that moment.”
We are very thankful to have Jeff as our representative at this year’s London Marathon, but we need your kind donations to support Jeff and help our Foundation.
By donating and supporting Jeff you will be helping us to transform lives across the UK through the power of gymnastics. Your donation will go towards our some of our programmes which include: our Love to Move initiative, helping those with dementia with our seated gymnastics sessions; our Hardship Grants Programme, supporting families experiencing financial difficulties; our Schools Project, helping students realise their potential in the sport; our Community Project, working with organisations to make positive impacts in their community and our Disability Project, helping disabled people access the sport.
To make a donation, visit Jeff’s Giving Page – https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JeffKincaid1