Long-running marathon joke to become reality as Norwich man trains for gruelling challenge

Shaun, who is training for the London Marathon to raise money for Water Aid

Shaun, who is training for the London Marathon to raise money for Water Aid - Credit: Archant

For 15 years he joked about running the London Marathon.

And now Shaun Cleworth from Sprowston is set to have the last laugh.

Despite being unsuccesful in the ballot, Mr Cleworth will be taking on the gruelling challenge for Water Aid next year.

'I've always supported the charity, ever since Anglian Water dropped a leaflet through my door about 10 years ago,' he said.

'I found the figures shocking about children dying and my son was only young at the time, so Water Aid just clicked with me, especially as it was something as simple as water. We all take it for granted.'

He is being supported by friend and former partner Joanne Cooley, 34, has spent years hearing him joke about the marathon.

'Shaun running the marathon has been a long-running joke since 1999 and I think he just thought 'why not?',' she said.

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'It gives him something to do and focus on.'

Mr Cleworth, 39 who works for Aviva, has to raise £2,000 in the next six months, but is undaunted by the prospect.

He said: 'It's always been on my bucket list. It just seems like the time is right, as my sister passed away and the marathon is on her birthday next year.

'I've started a blog so that people can keep up with my training and I've spoken to my work about doing a matching scheme.

'We'll also do the usual stuff like bake sales.'

From doing no exercise to training three times a week, Mr Cleworth said: 'I'm slowly building up the amount of miles I'm running. It's weird because it's become a bit of an obsession.

'Some of my runs are a breeze, but then other times I think I've got a long way to go!'

To donate, visit Shaun's blog at thewatermarathon.wordpress.com.

Are you fulfilling an ambition by fundraising for charity? Email locallife@archant.co.uk.