London Marathon by Lambretta | FEATURE
We’ve all pushed scooters from time to time but pushing one for 52 miles is a bit extreme. That’s what ‘Mike the Mod’ is planning to do next year in aid of Who Charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Demelza Hospice.
Lifelong mod and ardent runner, Mike celebrates his 50th Birthday in 2017 and decided to celebrate by running the London and Brighton Marathons. That’s not quite enough of a challenge though so he’s had a life sized replica of a Lambretta built and he’ll run inside the custom contraption for each of the 26-mile long events.
If you’re at Warmwell Scooter Rally this weekend you’ll be able to get a close up look at Mike’s ‘Lambretta’ but here’s what it’s all about and why…
Who am I?
My name is Michael Reeves and I am 51 years old. I started running competitively for Bexley Borough Athletic Club when I was just 10 years old and I represented my club in the under 20s National 1500m Steeplechase Final. I’m a lifelong Mod and have been a Paul Weller fan since I borrowed the album ‘All Mod Cons’ by the Jam from Erith Library when I was 14 years old. Just after my 18th birthday I was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis and I was told I would probably never run again.
My battle with this debilitating disease, and also anxiety and depression, has been long, painful and challenging – but I am happy to say that I am currently in remission from the arthritis and running helps me manage my depression too. And, despite what my doctors said, I actually ran the 1990 London Marathon in two hours and 58 minutes, on behalf of Arthritis Research, and a half-marathon in one hour and 12 minutes. I am currently a member of Petts Wood Runners. I help to organise our annual 10k race, it raises funds for St Christopher’s, our local hospice, and I also hold regular St Christopher’s Open Garden afternoon tea fundraisers at my own home.
What am I up to at the moment?
Well, it’s clearly fundraising time again, but this time it will be very different – and here’s how! I am the proud custodian of three classic Lambretta scooters; a 1966 SX200, a 1971 GP200 and a 2016 LP26.2. For those of you left wondering about that last one, it’s a leg-powered polystyrene scooter, especially built for me by Odd Mod Squad members ‘Vinyl’ Dave Garrett and Les Bee.
The reason? I am combining my two passions, running and scooters, and will be running inside my 2016 LP26.2 at the Brighton Marathon on Sunday 9 April 2017 and at the London Marathon on Sunday 23 April 2017 to raise funds for two very special charities – Demelza Hospice Care for Children and Teenage Cancer Trust. I will tell you more about these fantastic charities further on.
My own first attempt at designing a ‘marathon scooter’ was to cover my GP200 in tin foil then make a papier mâché shell and use salvaged copper piping as a supportive frame. This was a disaster.
Dave and Les from my scooter club stepped in to help me and used salvaged cardboard, polystyrene, a plastic waste pipe, aluminium and wheels from an abandoned pushchair. The final design looks fantastic and it even has working front and rear lights. The scooter weighs 12 kilos. The only problem is that it’s too short for my running stride so I’ve been working hard to adjust my stride while out training inside my customised marathon scooter. I’ve certainly seen a few double-takes and raised some eyebrows in my local area!
The mathematics of it all
My normal stride length is 1m 36cm but the space inside the scooter is 97cm. I have managed to adjust my stride to 90cm so this works out at 162 metres per minute using 180 steps. The length of a marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards or 42,195 metres – so a perfect non-stop run over a marathon distance would take me around four and a half hours. So, wish me luck and let’s raise lots of money for two fabulous charities!
Donate now through the MikeTheMod Just giving page, 50% will go to the Demelza Hospice and 50% to Teenage Cancer Trust.
You can read about the charities below…
Demelza Hospice Care for Children
Lucy’s story – “Demelza means time I can spend just being a bit more normal with people my age.”
Eshan’s story – “The confidence they’ve given us as a family has really changed how I deal with day-to-day life.”
Rhys’s story – “Time at Demelza helps build memories. It gives us time to be a family.”
This children’s hospice in the southeast of the UK provides vital care, either in the family home or in a family hospice, through their two bases at Sittingbourne and Eltham to families across East Sussex, Kent and Southeast London. Demelza Hospice Care for Children helps those who may not live a long life to live a full life. It provides compassionate and expert care for babies, children, young people and their families when they need it the most. Families are able to stay and play together, to create precious moments and happy memories and enjoy quality time in a quality place, supported by quality care.
If time is cut short, Demelza helps to ease the family through their fear and anxiety and move forward from their loss. As a charity, their bespoke support is free of charge and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Demelza receives very little government funding and relies heavily on the support of the community in which they work to raise the £10 million a year they need to run their services. To date the Odd Mod Squad has raised £6,237 for Demelza. Let’s continue helping Demelza to help others. Find out more at www.demelza.org.uk
Teenage Cancer Trust
Harry’s story – “I hope more people choose to run for Teenage Cancer Trust as they provide the best possible care for young people like me, before, during and after cancer. They’re amazing.”
Lily’s story – “Teenage Cancer Trust never made me feel like I had to be brave. They understand that we’re young, that we can’t be brave all the time.”
Abbie’s story – “Teenage Cancer Trust paid for me to have a real hair wig and get it professionally styled. It made things easier and helped me prepare for the hair loss. I’m not used to having short hair.”
Teenage Cancer Trust makes sure the seven young people aged 13 to 24 diagnosed with cancer every day, don’t face it alone. They help young people and their families deal with the many ways cancer screws up your body, mind and life. They work in partnership with the NHS, providing expert staff and specialist units in Principal Treatment Centres for cancer, and bring young people together so they can support each other. Teenage Cancer Trust also give presentations in schools so young people understand more about cancer and go to the doctors earlier.
Teenage Cancer Trust helps medical professionals and politicians understand why young people with cancer need specific support. Almost half of young people with cancer are not treated in their units, instead they are treated in hospitals where there isn’t the same level of expertise that the trust provides, and they might never meet another young person with cancer. This is a scary and lonely experience. This must change. So Teenage Cancer Trust is building a wider Nursing & Support Service within the NHS to help all young people, wherever they receive treatment.
To make this happen, Teenage Cancer Trust needs to raise more than £20 million every year by 2020. Teenage Cancer Trust relies on donations to fund their vital work. Find out more at www.teenagecancertrust.org