COMPLETING his first marathon is an experience Matt Whitney will never forget.
The 25-year-old, who grew up in Waterlooville, was one of thousands to tackle yesterday’s London Marathon.
And he dedicated his race to his beloved mum, Jan, who died in 2013, due to complications from breaking her spine in 2009.
Brave Matt pushed his body to the limits to cross the finishing line in an impressive time of 3hr 27mins, raising more than £2,300 in the process.
Speaking to The News moments after completing the epic 26.2-mile race, he said: ‘I’m more exhausted than emotional really.
‘Things started to get really hard at the 10k marker. That’s when I started to really feel it in my legs.
‘But I just kept telling myself how many 10ks I had run in training and that this was just like the start of another training run.’
Matt was running for Spinal Research, a charity that conducts vital research into new treatments for people who have broken their back.
He added the charity was helping hundreds of people, like his late mother, cope with the trauma of a spinal injury.
Speaking of his experience, he said: ‘When I was 17 – about four days before me first A-Level – my mum fell down the stairs and broke her back.
‘She was left paralysed from the chest down. That was obviously a massive change for the whole family.
‘She was in hospital for nine months. It was awful to see. The worst thing was knowing that there was not much chance of her walking again.’
Matt, who works at Climate Science in London, added he had set himself a target of £1,800 – a target he has already smashed. He now hopes to try and top £3,000.
He said: ‘I have been blown away by the support. I can’t believe it.
‘I hope my mum would have been proud of me.’