Incredible grandad from Pontefract to run London Marathon for the NSPCC

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A 63-year-old grandad from Pontefract is taking on a once in a lifetime challenge by running in this year’s 26.2-mile London Marathon to raise money for the NSPCC.

Neil Roberts, who is a driver for the Wakefield-based public sector procurement YPO, has set himself the gruelling task of completing one of the world’s most high-profile sporting events to raise vital funds for the UK’s leading children’s charity - despite having never competed in a marathon before.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s (April 21) event, which will take in many of London's best landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf, Neil said: “I've done lots of 5k and 10k runs in my time, but I’ve done nothing of this magnitude.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I've done small scale events in Sheffield and Manchester, but I wanted to challenge myself and do some good for the NSPCC.

63-year-old grandad and ex-footballer Neil Roberts will take part in this weekend's London Marathon.63-year-old grandad and ex-footballer Neil Roberts will take part in this weekend's London Marathon.
63-year-old grandad and ex-footballer Neil Roberts will take part in this weekend's London Marathon.

"I've got young grandkids and raised a family that has been fortunate in life, but not everybody is that lucky. I know there are children out there that need help and it’s important to me and the fantastic company I work for to do something. When things get hard on Sunday, I'll remember who I'm doing it for, and it'll get me over the line.”

Training for Sunday’s London Marathon hasn’t been plain sailing for Neil who has had just seven weeks of training ahead of Sunday's challenge having only just recovered from a knee injury.

Former semi-professional footballer Neil, who used to play for Pontefract Colliery FC, has decided to work through the pain barrier and is confident he’ll make everyone proud after recently completing a 21-mile training run in preparation for the big day.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He continued: “I didn't want to let anyone down and I've been worried that I may not be fit in time. But I've had plenty of rest, I've stuck to my plan and have been doing longer and longer runs, and I'm good to go. I'm tapering down now to rest my legs and I'll be eager to go on Sunday. I’ll be taking Monday off work!”

Neil wants to use the experience to raise the profile of, and raise funds for, the UK’s leading and largest children’s charity.Neil wants to use the experience to raise the profile of, and raise funds for, the UK’s leading and largest children’s charity.
Neil wants to use the experience to raise the profile of, and raise funds for, the UK’s leading and largest children’s charity.

NSPCC Regional Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser Isabel McKenzie said: “We’re blown away by Neil’s desire and commitment to take on this epic challenge in aid of the NSPCC. We understand Neil is a very modest man and we know how hard he’s had to work to get himself ready for the marathon.

"People like Neil are the reason why the NSPCC exists. His efforts will be going a long way to help tackle child abuse and neglect throughout Yorkshire and the UK. We wish him all the very best for Sunday.”

Simon Hill, Managing Director at YPO, added: “The courage, strength and determination that Neil has shown on the lead up to running the London Marathon to raise money for the NSPCC this Sunday is admirable.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The NSPCC partnership is close to everyone’s heart here at YPO and Neil is a prime example of showing the organisations dedication to making a difference for our future generations. We’re beyond proud of Neil, and we wish him all of the best of luck for the marathon.”

To support Neil and raise vital funds for the NSPCC, visit: https://rb.gy/0e7zae

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.