David’s running feat

MCHG  12-848  Marathon runner and Hemel Hempstead Gazette reporter David O'Neill.
MCHG 12-848 Marathon runner and Hemel Hempstead Gazette reporter David O'Neill.

Gazette reporter David O’Neill completed the Amsterdam Marathon on Sunday, raising more than £440 for charity.

David, who covers the Berkhamsted area for the paper, dedicated the challenge to colleague Jonathan Saunders, who died aged 24 from a rare form of bone cancer last month.

The keen runner raised funds for The Willow Foundation, a good cause that paid for Jonny and his new wife Adella to take a weekend trip to Edinburgh in their short time together.

The charity funds special days out for seriously ill people aged 16 to 40.

David, 25, coped fairly well with the marathon, finishing in 4hr 15m.

He said: “A lot of people started walking before I did – but my running got slower and slower as the miles wore on.

“I got a bit choked towards the end, thinking about what had happened to Jonny. But I kept running – and hopefully the fundraising will help other people in his position.”

The first thing he did to celebrate finishing the marathon was to go to the nearest bar and order a beer – ending two months of abstinence.

He said: “It’s a great relief that it’s all over. I won’t do any more running for at least a week now.”

You can still sponsor David at www.justgiving.com/David-O-Neill1