Oxford Chargers racer Arran Butcher will swap horsepower for manpower later this year by lining up at the prestigious London Marathon, all in the name of charity.
The 21-year-old will tackle the iconic 26.2-mile course in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK after his grandmother Maureen sadly passed away with the disease in October 2015.
Butcher plans to raise £2,500 for the charity, which provides support services to individuals and families affected by a diagnosis, funds world-leading research into finding a cure and campaigns to develop faster treatment.
It’s estimated 8,800 people in the UK are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, with survival rates fewer than 5%. Butcher hopes his run will make a small contribution towards the charity’s efforts to finding a cure.
“Each year, thousands of people lose their lives shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” said Butcher. “It’s not a rare cancer, and late diagnosis is a major problem with the average survival period between just two and six months.
“Sadly, we lost my grandmother to the disease almost seven years ago. In her memory, I’ve committed to raising funds for Pancreatic Cancer UK to support the incredible work the charity does to educate, respond to concerns and provide support to patients, their families and loved ones.
“I’ve been lucky to secure a charity place at this year’s London Marathon and hope by completing the course I’ll be able to raise a minimum of £2,500. I was due to run the marathon in 2020 and 2021, but COVID-19 and injury got in the way – so I’m hoping this year is a case of third time lucky!”
Due to the pandemic and its change to the London Marathon schedule, this year’s event will take place on Sunday, October 2. It means Butcher has some added motivation to be in peak physical condition through the speedway season.
It’s something the Leicestershire-based racer hopes will make a positive impact to his ability on track, particularly after spending the last two season on the side lines.
Butcher added: “I keep myself fit at home in the gym, particularly at this time of year with the speedway season approaching.
“There’s greater emphasis on riders’ fitness now and ensuring you are in good condition for the beginning of March is a priority through the off-season. I’ve had a tough couple of seasons with COVID-19 wiping out everyone’s 2020 campaign and injury holding me back last year.
“To start fresh with Oxford Speedway is something I’m really looking forward to and I’m grateful to Jamie Courtney for placing his faith in my ability. The goal is always to have a healthy and consistent season, if we can achieve that as a team then we’ll be well placed to challenge for the end-of-season play-offs.”
Oxford Speedway Promoter Jamie Courtney added: “On behalf of everyone at the club, I’d like to wish Arran every success with his fundraising and training leading up to this year’s London Marathon.
“Pancreatic Cancer UK is an excellent charity with obvious ties to Arran and his family. Hopefully the Oxford Speedway community will rally around his fundraising efforts to help him achieve the £2,500 target.”
Pancreatic Cancer affects men and women in the same way. Symptoms vary from tummy or back pain, unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite, yellow skin or eyes or itchy skin, a change in bowel habits and indigestion.
Further information about Pancreatic Cancer UK is available by clicking here. To support Arran’s fundraising efforts, visit his online page Arran Butcher is fundraising for Pancreatic Cancer UK (justgiving.com).
Photos: Chris Simpson.