Jon Thaxton's marathon mission

Stephen PullingerDuring a 17-year boxing career he came through many gruelling fights, not least his 12 rounds against fight legend Ricky Hatton in 2000.Stephen Pullinger

During a 17-year boxing career he came through many gruelling fights, not least his 12 rounds against fight legend Ricky Hatton in 2000.

But after completing the full marathon distance of 26.2m on a treadmill on Saturday, Jon Thaxton declared that he had found running a lot tougher that boxing.

The former British, European and world lightweight champion carried out the challenge at the SportLink sports shop in Taverham Garden and Crafts Centre as a rehearsal for the Virgin London Marathon on April 25.

Jon, 35, cheered on by well-wishers at the shop, which is run by his coach and former international athlete Neil Featherby, was also raising money for the Norfolk Hospice Tapping House.

Part of a six-man team which will be running for the Snettisham hospice at the gruelling London race, he collected donations throughout the 3hr 25min run.

'I'm telling people it was 2hr 85m because I wanted to beat the 3hr mark,' he said.

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He said while the total collected has yet to be counted, one woman alone had donated �65.

Jon, who set his sights on the London Marathon as a challenge after retiring from the ring, said: 'As soon as I started on the treadmill I was finding it very tough and I was unable to run at my normal speed.

'By 18 miles I was really beginning to struggle - and it was then that we noticed I had been running on a 3pc incline. Neil used bricks to level it out and I then found it a whole lot easier.'

Thanking the spectators who supported him, he said the run had been good experience for what was to come on the streets of the capital, and had given publicity to a worthy local charity.

Jon, who plans to bolster his fundraising for the hospice by organising a charity dinner in Norwich with Ricky Hatton, confessed that his legs were 'very tired' yesterday.

However, he said he would be resuming training on Tuesday and taking part in next Sunday's Broadland Half Marathon.

Norfolk Hospice, which supports patients from as far afield as the Fens in the West and Sheringham in the North relies on public donations to help it meet its �1m a year running costs.

Are you raising money for a good local cause? Tell us all about it by calling Evening News reporter Sam Emanuel on 01603 772438 or email

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