Champion performances for charity by marathon runners

Croydon pleasers: the mass start of the London Marathon

Two Croydon figures made themselves marathon champions on Sunday, one by setting an example by raising thousands of pounds for the NHS charity, the other by claiming the accolade as the 2023 race’s oldest finisher.

David Picksley, at 90, completed the 26-mile 385-yard course from Greenwich Park to The Mall in 7hr 16min 46sec.

Picksley is an old boy of Trinity School (class of 1951, apparently), and took part in this year’s marathon raising funds for Bowel Cancer UK, in memory of his sister, who died of the disease.

Star performer: 90-year-old David Picksley closing in on his marathon finish on Sunday

Picksley had been an active marathon runner into his 50s and 60s, when he “retired”. But he resumed his long-distance exploits by completing the virtual London Marathon in both 2021 and 2022 at a walking pace.

This year, with the event back to its springtime slot, Picksley determined to take part, and was a distinctive figure, walking stick in one hand, banana in the other, for much of the route.

And he was far from being the final one to cross the line in the event’s record 48,000 finishers.

Up the road ahead of him was Matthew Kershaw, whose day job is running Croydon’s health services.

Kershaw finished in 3:46:22, though the most important figure for the Croydon NHS Trust CEO was the £2,250 he has raised for the Trust’s charity.

All donations and sponsorship will be used to help purchase paediatric transport ventilators for the borough’s critically unwell children and provide continued support to staff to improve their mental and physical wellbeing following the pandemic.

Kershaw, in his early 50s, is described as “a seasoned runner”, who in 2021 took part in a 100km ultramarathon along the south coast from Eastbourne to Arundel. He has also competed in the Ironman UK triathlon.

Fund runner: Matthew Kershaw, CEO of the Croydon NHS Trust, powering along on Sunday

“The 2023 London Marathon was my eighth marathon to date, but each one is tough in its own way,” Kershaw told Inside Croydon.

“As this was my first in support of Croydon Health Charity I wanted to make sure I made it across the finish line as a thank you everyone that has supported me so far.

“The charity is a vital part of the Trust and helps us to do more for patients and staff in Croydon, whether it’s funding bereavement gardens and medical equipment, specialist staff training or staff wellbeing events – each and every donation makes a difference to those that we care for.

“I’ve enjoyed running for such a great cause and hope to be back on the London Marathon start line in 2024.”

Donations can still be made to Matthew Kershaw’s Just Giving page by clicking here.

The ballot for entries to the 2024 TCS London Marathon is open now.

To be in with a chance of securing a place in next year’s event, you need to put your name forward into the ballot for places before 9pm this Friday, April 28.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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