Chertsey marathon man Hopes for a dozen
Friday 24 April 2009
Lee Hope, 42, from Chertsey, Surrey is about to embark on his twelfth London Marathon this Sunday (26 April) and will be raising money for UK learning disability charity Mencap. Lee, who has a learning disability, is part of Mencap's Dennis the Menace running team and hopes to finish the race in 6 hours 15 minutes.
Lee started running to keep fit in 1996 and comments: "At first I couldn't run very far, but I loved it. I did my first London Marathon that year and, apart from 1997 and 1999, I've done it every year since then. I got my place through Mencap who support me all the way. I love running marathons."
Since the marathon in 2000, Lee has been raising money for Mencap as he is a member of Kingston Mencap and has had a lot of support from them and goes on the day trips they organise.
Lee has been training hard and is looking forward to the day. He comments: "On the day of a marathon I feel a bit nervous, but I know the route. As long as I finish I'm happy. I put my name on my running shirt and people shouting my name really helps me to keep going. I've never had an injury, but I am so tired at the end of the race. I can just about walk to the station and I put my feet up afterwards!"
Lee has a full time job working in a kitchen as a porter and lives with his mother at the moment but plans to live independently again soon. When he's not running marathons, he goes swimming and enjoys salsa dancing and playing pool.
Mencap has 147 people taking to the streets of London for the 26.2 mile race which will start at Greenwich Park and wind through the streets of London, passing many of the capital's landmarks, going over Tower Bridge, past Buckingham Palace and ending with a fantastic finish on The Mall.
All Mencap's marathon runners get fantastic support - including fundraising tips, a Dennis the Menace running vest, a post-race reception and great support on the day. The money Mencap's runners raise will help the charity continue to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers. Mencap fights for equal rights, campaigns for greater opportunities and challenges attitudes and prejudice. Through housing, education, employment, leisure and advocacy services, Mencap supports people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
Lee concludes: "To anyone who is thinking of doing a marathon, I'd say to just carry on training and take your time - there's no rush. I'm already thinking about next year's marathon, but I should get this year's over and done with first!"
If you feel inspired by Lee to take part in an event for Mencap, contact the events team on 020 7696 6983 or visit www.mencap.org.uk/events
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Notes to editors
For a photo of Lee Hope at last year's marathon, please contact Tara Rayment on 020 7696 6937 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mencap works with people with a learning disability and their families and carers.
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops before, during or shortly after birth. It is always lifelong.
- Learning disability affects someone's intellectual and social development all their life. People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate.
- People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. Mencap fights to change laws and services and to provide better access to education, employment and leisure facilities, supporting thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
- It is not a mental illness and should not be confused with mental health issues. It is not dyslexia or aspergers syndrome.
- It used to be called mental handicap but we don't use this term anymore because most people with a learning disability find it offensive.
- For information about learning disability issues please call the Learning Disability Helpline (England) on 0808 808 1111
- For online press information, go to www.mencap.org.uk/press