"I am not very good with lots of noise. I am not so very good with crowds either." Perry tells us about his London Marathon experience alongside 40,000 other runners!

In October the wait will be over for many thousands of people when the London Marathon announce who has successfully received a place in the public ballot for the 2019 race. Most will be disappointed as far more apply for a place than is available. But all is not lost. If you didn’t secure a place, Motivation has two available.

Last year Perry ran on behalf of Motivation. Not only was it his first ever marathon – in fact his first ever running event – but he raised an incredible £25,000, more than any other Silver Bond runner in 2018. We were blown away by his fundraising success, which equates to another 138 people receiving a Motivation wheelchair! That’s 138 people who can now start to regain their mobility and independence; 138 people who can begin to be active within their communities again; 138 people who can start to challenge stereotypes and breakdown the stigma that still exists for disabled people in the developing world.

Hear from Perry in his own words what motivated him and perhaps his story will inspire you to get in touch and you too will consider running for Motivation…

1. What made you decide to run a marathon?

I have been meaning to do so for about ten years, so time was against me at 56. I also knew I was getting too fat, so I thought I might kill two birds with one stone. And I just wanted to get round. I had a 4 ½ hour expectation, so pretty slow!

2. And why Motivation – what made you choose us to run for?

I have run on behalf of international development charity Motivation, which was established by David Constantine MBE, who in 1982, at the age of 21, broke his neck and found himself paralysed. Ten years later he established this amazing charity, which is now 27 years old. They design and provide wheelchairs for people living in developing countries. I have known David for quite a number of years, and have such respect for his calm and charm, and the cause he has dedicated his life to. As I said in my Virgin Money Giving Page, he can’t run it, so I thought I might do it for him. Also he has the sort of smile that just gets people to do stuff.

3. How long did you train for?

12 months, first on a running machine in the garden shed, and then after about six months, I felt I wasn’t too embarrassing to be seen out on the trail. So I built up to it just as the Marathon planner said. I wasn’t expecting how boring my conversations would become, or how much strain I put on my family by being either preparing to go out to run, actually running or recovering from running or talking about running.

4. You ran the marathon in record-breaking temperatures! Were you prepared, how did you cope with the heat?

I coped fine. I had trained through heat, ice, rain, everything. The reason I ran about an hour longer than I expected was not the heat. I was just wholly unprepared for the sight of 40,000 runners, all of whom, judging by their shirts, had been touched by misfortune or tragedy in their family at some point. I found that really emotional. And then the sheer biomass of spectators. It must have been the London Burglar’s Saint’s Day. Everyone in London was on the street. Millions of them, shouting, ululating, calling my name, playing their trombone, whistle, drums, boom boxes, even bagpipes. And I am not very good with lots of noise. I am not so very good in crowds either. Hadn’t planned for how draining I found that. Particularly as everyone had said that the atmosphere is what keeps you going, lifts your feet...

5. What piece of advice would you give to someone who is thinking of running the London marathon?

I don’t think it would be very motivational for me to give the advice I would really like to offer, so I will pass on that one. Actually, if you are as unfit as I was, start 12 months before, run four times a week (I was doing 23 miles a week in total) until it is time to get on to the Marathon training programme and then follow that religiously.

6. What was the highlight of the experience?

How unbelievably humbling it was. Oh, and I do love the sound of bagpipes.

7. And what was the most challenging or low point?

Miles 5 to 24. I really wish I was being humorous. I’m not. It was by far and away the most physically and mentally difficult thing I have ever done in my life.

8. You raised a whopping £25,000 for Motivation – what are your top tips for other fundraisers?

Ask everyone. And start asking four or five months before the event (before everyone else does) by round robin email. Then ask four times more, two or three weeks apart.

And then one or two days before the Marathon. But then I have never asked anyone before for money and I promised never to ask again, so a lot of people owed me a donation. It also helped that everyone knew me as a 17 stone, 56 year old, so I think their first reaction was, “Never!”, and their second was, “We had better motivate him to go through with it.” People were so generous. That also blew me away.

And what am I left with? I still run 10 or 15 miles a week. I am much fitter. And I think my family are pretty impressed… that I lived. And through the generosity of so many people, a little bit more fuel has been added to the Motivation machine.

If you would like to run for Motivation in next year’s Virgin Money London Marathon fill in the form on our events page and tell us why you think you’ve got what it takes. We’d love to hear from you…