11:52AM, Friday 12 October 2018
A running fanatic from Slough who is taking on the town’s half marathon this weekend is also gearing up for one of the toughest marathons on earth.
Simon Wheeler, of Littleport Spur, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), first started running competitively six years ago to help him improve his mental health.
“I was quite ill and running basically saved my life. It certainly saved my mental state,” said the father-of-two.
Since then he has taken on countless marathons and half marathons in multiple countries while raising money for charity.
“I’m an idiot that runs a lot for money,” said the 52-year-old, who has also skydived and walked on the wing of a plane.
The thrill seeker is pleased to see the Slough Half Marathon returning to the borough on Sunday after an 18 year hiatus.
“I’m very pleased that it’s come back to Slough. I think everyone in the running community’s pleased,” he said.
“Running I think has become much more popular,” added the retired civil servant, who said turnout was very high at September’s Windsor Half Marathon, in which he competed.
Simon, who runs a security company, is gearing up for a much bigger challenge next year in the Himalayas.
He initially planned on taking on the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon in 2015, but this was postponed due to the earthquake in Nepal.
Making his decision, Simon said: “I woke up one morning, I thought ‘that would be fun wouldn’t it’, what’s the hardest marathon in the world?”
The keen mountain climber said: “Everest is going to be a very interesting challenge. I will have to stay in the mountains for one month to acclimatise to the height and prevent altitude sickness.”
Simon, who practices meditation, says before he takes on the challenge on May 29, he wants to spend time with Buddhist monks, volunteering to help children, and cleaning up the environment.
On every competitive run he goes on, Simon takes his lucky teddy bear Paddy.
He says that when he ‘hit the wall’ and became exhausted running the Paris Marathon, he hallucinated Paddy giving him the words of encouragement needed to carry on.
On both runs, Simon is raising money for armed forces charity The Baton, Breast Cancer Charity and the Southern Hope Foundation, whose work will go to help those affected by the earthquake in Nepal.
Simon’s running buddy this weekend will be Dr Gurdip Hear of Crosby House Surgery in Stoke Poges Lane, who is raising money for children’s charity the Willow Foundation.
Anyone who wishes to donate can email Simon on CrimsonPA@gmail.com to make arrangements.
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