TJ employee back in training for London Marathon


TJ’s Commercial and Operations Manager Paul Smith is running the Virgin Money London Marathon 2021 to raise money for Wessex Heartbeat. He was due to take part in the 2020 marathon, but the pandemic meant that it was not possible so his place was transferred to this year’s event instead.

The marathon, which is due to take place on Sunday 3 October 2021, will see 50,000 participants run the traditional Blackheath to The Mall route. In addition to this, there will also be a virtual marathon, whereby anyone is welcome to run the 26.2 miles wherever they are in the world, as long as they complete it within the 24 hours of 3 October and report their result. This virtual event was launched last year and saw nearly 38,000 people participate worldwide.

With just three months to go, Paul has resumed serious training. He is a regular runner, usually running three times a week. Marathon training will see him up his sessions to five times per week, completing a mixture of eight-mile and 15-mile runs throughout August to prepare himself for the extended time on his feet. He’ll continue this into September, combining these with some longer runs too.

Wessex Heartbeat is a charity set up to support the work of the Wessex Cardiac Centre in Southampton, which ensures that people being treated for heart conditions will receive the best care and support to treat their condition.

The combination of world-class clinical teams and significant investment in the Wessex Cardiac Centre have turned it into one of the foremost Cardiac Centres in the UK and Internationally.

Since 1992, over £16 million has been raised for this cause, enabling crucial improvements to be made to the Centre. Some of our most notable projects include the creation of Heartbeat House, the children’s Ocean Ward and the Heartbeat Education Centre, YACU, as well as regular funding of leading-edge equipment, clinical education and research.

When TJ’s Chairman, Terry Higgins was offered a marathon place in return for fundraising, he was more than happy to accept. He knew the opportunity would give a lucky employee the chance to take part in the London Marathon, whilst also raising money for this worthy cause.

Terry knew Paul was a keen runner and offered him the place, which he readily accepted. Together they have pledged to raise the minimum fundraising amount of £2,500, which will go towards the great work Wessex Heartbeat carry out.

Paul said:

“I was thrilled to be asked to run the Marathon and although it was disappointing not to be able to do it last year as planned, it’s given me something to look forward to this past year. I’ve run the London Marathon before but there’s nothing better than completing a marathon in your home capital city, the atmosphere is amazing! To be able to experience all that whilst also raising money for cardiac care is a privilege.”

Visit Paul’s JustGiving page to make a donation to Wessex Heartbeat in support of Paul and the Centre – all support is highly appreciated.

Find out more about TJ, the other great fundraising work they’ve done recently and don’t forget to support Paul at JustGiving!