“With no cure to date, exposure and public awareness is essential to stop this isolating disease"

Posted: Thursday 7 October 2021 at 14:53

First-time London Marathon runner Mark Cooper was motivated to take on the challenge after seeing the impact that macular disease had on his mum.

Mark’s mum, (Betty), who is in her early eighties, has been able to adapt to living with her condition but at the start of this year it began to have more of an impact on her life, particularly not being able to see her grandchildren as often as she used to.

Mark said: “Although my mum is coping really well it upsets her that she cannot babysit the grandkids in the evening as much as she used to, because she cannot drive once it gets dark. She is also starting to get a little anxious about what will happen to her eye sight in the future.”

“I ran the Watford half-marathon twenty five years ago with my mum but never the London Marathon. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime challenge. I’ll probably never do it again because I wanted to make it so special by running for my mum and the charity,” he added.

Mark set himself a target of £2,000 and to boost donations held a number of fundraising events, including an online DJing gig.  

Mark’s parents weren’t able to see him cross the finish line in front of Buckingham Palace in person on Sunday. Instead, they followed his progress via the London Marathon App and he managed to call them briefly whilst running.

 “My family are proud to pieces. I did the St Albans half marathon in July as part of my training programme, and I felt really great when I passed the finishing line but all my family were in tears. There were even more tears when I crossed the finish line on Sunday, mostly from me.”

“I'm so proud of what I have achieved not only for myself but also for the charity. The last six miles we’re a killer but the support of the crowd and for all those people who so kindly donated got me through to the end,” he added.

Mark crossed the finish line in 5hrs 8mins 59sec and has raised nearly £3,000 to help beat macular disease.

Help him reach £3,000, by visiting his fundraising page

Take on your own challenge to help beat macular disease, or find out more about how to fundraise.