When bowel cancer struck down two people close to a Bury St Edmunds runner, it was the spark of inspiration for his first two marathons.
Matt Webb, head of enterprise data management at UK Power Networks, has already smashed his original fundraising target four-fold, raising more than £2,200 for Bowel Cancer UK, supported by friends, family and colleagues at the power firm, which match funds staff fundraising up to £100.
Matt ran the Brighton Marathon on April 2 in a time of 3 hours 10 minutes and is currently preparing for his first London Marathon on April 23 to support friend Dan, who lost his wife Lisa to bowel cancer in 2021, as well as Matt’s dad who was successfully treated for the condition.
Matt said: “I really got into running during lockdown, and it was around that time that my friend’s wife fell ill with bowel cancer. They are a similar age to myself, with a young family. Her husband started running as a coping mechanism and ran 12 marathons in 18 months, while she was having her treatment, raising a huge amount of money for various charities.
“I don’t use the word ‘inspirational’ often but in this instance, I couldn’t help but be inspired. Dan raised a huge amount of money to help others while having to deal with the direct impacts of the illness to his wife and children.
“What has kept me going during my training is that sense of responsibility to a very important cause and my commitment to those who have supported me. I don’t want to let them down. Early diagnosis is so important and hopefully the money raised will contribute to more people affected by bowel cancer having a positive outcome.
“The London Marathon is of course a huge event with crowds on every section of the route, which will make a huge difference in driving us on.”
Now he has the “running bug” Matt has signed up for an ultra-marathon, the scenic Suffolk Coastal Path 50k from Lowestoft to Aldeburgh on September 9 and Athens Marathon, on November 12.
Kerry Thomas, head of public fundraising for Bowel Cancer UK, said: “Running both the Brighton and London marathons is no mean feat, and we’re incredibly grateful that Matt has been inspired by the experiences of his friend and his dad to fundraise for Bowel Cancer UK. All the money he raises will help us to continue funding our vital services and lifesaving research.
“Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, but it doesn’t have to be this way as it’s treatable and curable if diagnosed early. I’d strongly encourage everyone to check their poo, and if you’re experiencing red flag symptoms like changes in bowel habit, bleeding from your bottom and blood in your poo, please contact your GP straight away. Knowing the symptoms to look out for and acting quickly really could save your life.”
For more information about the symptoms of bowel cancer visit www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk
Matt’s Just Giving page is here.