TJ employee finishes London Marathon in top 11%!


TJ’s Commercial and Operations Manager Paul Smith successfully completed the Virgin Money London Marathon 2021 on Sunday in just 3 hours 19 minutes, which saw him placed 607th in his category. Paul ran the race to raise money for Wessex Heartbeat. 

Paul was due to take part in the 2020 marathon, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic so his place was transferred to this year instead. Although Paul is a seasoned runner, he has been in marathon training for the past six months, gradually building up his distances and increasing his pace.

The marathon saw 41,605 participants run the traditional Blackheath to The Mall route, with an additional 40,000 runners completing a virtual marathon from their own locations. The virtual event allowed anyone to run the 26.2 miles wherever they were in the world, as long as they completed it within the 24 hours of 3 October and reported their result. This is the second year the virtual event has taken place.

Paul’s time meant that he not only clocked up an impressive average of 7.6-minute miles, but also that he finished in the top 11% of all the runners that participated, which is an amazing achievement.

Paul said:

“It was a fantastic day, the supporters really spurred me on and thankfully the weather was kind, unlike the day before! It was really tough at some points but I kept telling myself it was mind over matter and I managed to push through it. I was thrilled with my finish time and pleased I was able to achieve my third fastest time ever.”

Paul ran to raise money for Wessex Heartbeat, 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 secured a charity marathon place back in 2019, he already had Paul in mind to take part. Together they pledged to raise a minimum of £2,500, which will go towards the great work Wessex Heartbeat carry out. 

Their fundraising target has not yet been met, so if you’re impressed with Paul’s amazing achievement and you’d like to support him and the work of Wessex Heartbeat, there’s still time to donate! Simply visit Paul’s fundraising 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 and the other great fundraising work they’ve been involved in.