London Marathon 2023: Tom Durnin hailed ‘hero’ after finishing last - but raising thousands for charity
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A former car crash victim has become a global sensation after his video of people cheering on him being the last person to cross the finish line in the London Marathon went viral. Tom Durnin, 35, from Banbury, was hailed a ‘hero’ by many who said he was an inspiration to complete the 26.2-mile race in over eight hours.
Speaking to Banbury Guardian, Durnin, also known as Mav said he spent a week in hospital before Christmas with a bleed on the brain and a broken arm following an accident. He said he had never run more than 7k before Sunday and did little preparation.
He said: “I’d come out of hospital and spent quite a few weeks recovering. Then two weeks ago, I spoke to the lady from the BCRT and because there was a deadline we wondered whether to put it off until next year, as I wouldn’t have enough time to raise funds. But we thought we’d carry on fundraising after the event. I thought I was going to be baking cakes for months.”
Little did he know that after a video of him went viral, thousands have been donated - in various currencies including US and Australian dollars - despite him starting with just £600 in pledges.
By Tuesday (April 25), his fundraising page on Just Giving had reached over £9,500 for both charities. Mav, who said he was left ‘wiped out’ on Monday, said: “My thing is motorsports – running isn’t my thing. I’ve done a little bit on the treadmill but I’m no athlete. I was inspired a few years back when my sister did the London Marathon and then a charity place came up for Freddie’s Future.”
Freddie Croft is the Bodicote boy who has Ewing Sarcoma, a particularly rare and aggressive bone cancer. An appeal went out in January for runners for the marathon to help his fundraising effort for the BCRT.
Mav completed the run in 8hr 10min 58sec, helped along the route by children lining the streets who fed him sweets, adult spectators and other runners who shared their refreshments.
By mile 10, Mav was making good time but an old injury became a problem and from there, “it was pain all the way to the finish. Ankles, knees and both groin became agonising.”
He added: “I was just digging as deep as I could so I could get to the end. It was 16 miles in pain. At mile 19, my partner Leanne and daughter Teighan were there. I got to mile 21 and I thought I just wasn’t going to be able to do it.”
One of the marathon organisers accompanied him the final three miles. She called ahead to ensure the finish line was kept open. He said as he crossed the finish line, the video of him was seen everywhere - Twitter, Lad Bible, Youtube, Facebook and across social media platforms.
He said: “I’ve had people messaging me from everywhere. Someone posted my Just Giving page under the London Marathon post and the money has just kept coming in.” After finishing the event, Mav and his family had to walk down Charing Cross Road and get a taxi to Marylebone to catch a train back to Banbury, where his mum, Fiona Beckford, was waiting.