Postal worker gets set for 23rd April London Marathon challenge

Postal, Union Matters, Health & Safety

PRDC Network driver prepares for 26-mile run through the capital to raise money for and awareness of a major charity and its work fighting heart disease in all its forms…

“Even if I have to walk or even crawl over the line – I’m determined to finish,” vows Ian Stewart as he looks forward to competing in this year’s London Marathon in support of the British Heart Foundation. Ian, a member of the CWU’s London Parcels & Stations Amal Branch, will be taking part in the showpiece event for the first time and is aiming to raise at least £2,500 through sponsorship from colleagues, friends and supporters.

With the support of his CWU branch who have donated £260 to his appeal, of his workmates at the Princess Royal Distribution Centre who have pledged hundreds of pounds to the cause, and of Royal Mail who have promised to match fund what he raises, Ian is hoping to reach, or even perhaps overtake his target.

Speaking to CWU News when we visited him at PRDC earlier this week, Ian told us: “The union have been fantastic with the donation and my CWU area network distribution rep Sonya Michael has been great. She’s put the word around and encouraged people to publicise this and give their support. Every donation, whether large or small, is gratefully received and every pound and penny helps the British Heart Foundation and the fantastic work they do,” he says, adding that BHF funds an enormous amount of research each year into all manner of heart and circulatory diseases and their causes.

This research, and the many clinical trials funded by BHF, have, over the years, led to the development of internal defibrillators and regenerative medicines among other innovations. “They also run a heart helpline and are promoting CPR training through their RevivR course,” Ian continues. “And the more money that can be raised, the more of this can be done.

Although this will be his first marathon, Ian has been a keen athlete since his youth and tells us that he belonged to the Newham & Essex Beagles Athletic Club – a club that has had several British Olympians, including gold medallists Daley Thompson and Christine Ohuruogu as members. “I ran 100m and 200m sprints back in my younger days though – it’s only in the past few years that I’ve started doing the longer distances, such as half marathons.”

Driving long distances in his 40-tonne, 60-foot articulated lorry, he fits in his training in between shifts and thanks his shift manager Joe Cwieczek who has been, he says “very supportive and helpful” with his preparation for the big challenge. “I’ve been gradually increasing the distances I’ve run and I think I’ll be ready for 23rd April.”

As well as his charity fund-raising, Ian says that he is also aiming to beat an official Guinness Record to become the fastest marathon runner in Royal Mail uniform. The Guinness Book of World Records website tells us that Brian Kirsopp is the current record holder in this category, having set a time of three hours, 45 minutes and six seconds in the 2017 London Marathon. And this is the time that Ian is aiming to beat if he can.

“I have to wear full, traditional uniform – including shirt and tie – and to run while carrying a mailbag weighting at least 11lbs,” he tells us. “And when I’m out training, I’ve worn the full kit and carried the weight so I get used to it.

“I hope I can beat the record – but the main thing is I really hope we can raise as much money as possible for the British Heart Foundation.”

Would you like to donate to Ian Stewart’s appeal? If so, please visit his sponsor page