PHIL Marshall is gearing up to take on ‘Britain’s most brutal race’ in a bid to help find a cure for a deadly disease from which his wife suffers.
On Sunday, Phil, 35, will be at the start line of a 268-mile ultramarathon taking in mountains, moors and hills.
Each step he takes will raise cash for charity Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK, to fund research into the condition.
His wife Sarah, 37, from Banbury, was diagnosed with life-limiting Pulmonary Hypertension four years ago, aged 33.
The condition causes high blood pressure in the blood vessels connecting the heart and lungs and progressively damages the organs.
She is now awaiting a double lung transplant.
A former teacher at Fritwell School, Sarah’s life was turned upside down when she collapsed one morning while getting ready for work.
She has never recovered and suffers daily from extreme breathlessness and fatigue, which makes it a struggle to do normal day-to-day activities like showering and walking up stairs.
She is now dependent on supplementary oxygen and a cocktail of drugs to keep her alive.
Sarah said: “One day I was working as a primary school teacher, the next day I was barely able to move off my sofa. I was active and fit and loved climbing mountains and playing sport, but now I’m reliant on oxygen and a mobility scooter.
“My life has changed dramatically.”
Currently there is no cure for PH and the couple have thrown themselves into fundraising to pay for research.
Sarah added: “I’ll be so proud when he crosses that finishing line.”
Phil took up running as a way to deal with the stress and pressure of living with his terminally ill wife.
He started with short races, then progressed onto marathons and ultra-marathons. In his latest challenge he will run along The Pennine Way, from Edale to Kirk Yetholm, where he is likely to face extreme weather with snow, ice, storm-force winds and rain possible over the seven-day race.
Phil said: “This is undoubtedly the toughest physical challenge I have ever attempted.
“I’m not looking forward to a week without sleep, or trying to navigate in the mountains in the middle of the night when I’m exhausted. And I’m really hoping it doesn’t rain too much.
“Research to find a cure for PH is desperately needed, so we’re trying to do our bit by raising money. It’s the only thing we can do to help.”
He has currently raised more than £3,600 of his £5,000 target.
To sponsor Phil view https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/phil-marshall15