This Sunday nine runners will pull on their Racing Welfare vests and trainers and line up in the TCS London Marathon to raise vital funds for racing’s human welfare charity. Reaching the finish line at the end of the gruelling 26 miles will signal another tick off the bucket list for Racing Welfare’s Regional Welfare Manager Brian Watson.
Brian said: “I’ve always wanted to take part in a marathon and it’s been on my bucket list of things to do before I’m 40 for a while now. I’ve only got a couple of years left to tick off the final items on my list so, as I am relatively fit this year, I thought I’d give it a crack!”
Brian has been in the racing industry for most of his working life, and on Racing Welfare’s front line for six years. He now manages the charity’s welfare teams across the South and West.
Brian reflects on why running the marathon for Racing Welfare is so important to him: “Not only do I get to see the front-line impact that we have, and how we make a massive difference to people’s lives, but Racing Welfare also supported me when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 18.
“I was working in Scotland at that early stage in my career, away from home and new to racing. Raye Wilkinson [awarded an MBE for services to the horseracing community in 2019] was the Welfare Officer in Middleham at that time and upon hearing the news he travelled up to visit me. He supported me with advice and guidance throughout that period. It was comforting to know someone was there to support me when I was ill. Since then I always wanted to do something for Racing Welfare, and fortunately in the years since I’ve managed to work for the charity and continue the good work that Raye did all those years ago.”
Runners have been following a meticulous training plan for several months in preparation for the mammoth task ahead. There’s been no let up for Brian as he trains alongside his demanding full-time role for the charity.
He says: “I’ve been training five days a week since April this year, only missing the odd day here and there. It’s been difficult trying to juggle a full-time job, a social life and fitting in training. You can’t just squeeze in a half hour run; it commands long periods of training – a good two to three hours at a time. 17.5 miles is the furthest distance I’ve run, so hopefully that sets me up for a good crack at it this weekend!
“I’ve enjoyed the build-up, and I’m ready to go for it – I’ve got a nice new kit, some fancy New Balance trainers and my second skin socks which are very comfortable! I’ve had some amazing support from friends, family and the local racing community. I realise it is a really tough time to be asking people to donate, so every penny is just so appreciated.”
Brian lines up for the TCS London Marathon this Sunday 2 October alongside eight other competitors all raising money for Racing Welfare.
To support Brian or any of the Racing Welfare runners visit https://racingwelfare.co.uk/challenges-archive/londonmarathon2022/racingwelfare.co.uk.