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Norwich man's 13-mile dash to see Canaries play

Mark Smith an NCFC supporter to run a half marathon 
before derby game
Photo: Jerry Daws
01603 772434
edp , en

Mark Smith an NCFC supporter to run a half marathon before derby game Photo: Jerry Daws 01603 772434 edp , en

©Archant Photographic 2010

Many people would see completing a half-marathon as a challenge in itself, but a diabetes sufferer from Norwich has given himself the task of completing his first race in less than two hours, and in time to see his favourite football team play.

Canaries’ season-ticket holder Mark Smith will be starting the City of Norwich Half-Marathon at 11am on November 28 at the Norfolk Showground.

His plan is then to cross the finishing line in good time and rush across the city to Carrow Road to watch his beloved team playing against Ipswich Town at 1.15pm.

The 36-year-old, who lives off Dereham Road in Norwich, will be raising money for two charities, including Diabetes UK.

Diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic 21 years ago, Mark knows first-hand how difficult it can be living with the condition.

He said: “I was 15 and I remember I got sent home from a science lesson because I was sitting in the class falling asleep and looking painfully ill. My mum booked a doctor’s appointment for the following Monday. I was too weak to do the 15-minute walk to the surgery.”

After being diagnosed with the condition, Mr Smith spent 10 days in hospital.

He said: “When they tell you you’re going to have injections for the rest of your life, it’s quite scary.”

As well as fundraising for Diabetes UK, he wants to show people that diabetics are capable of doing things that other people can do.

Mark has given himself seven weeks to train and has only ever run the half-marathon distance in training, completing it in less than two hours. A half-marathon is 13.1 miles.

He said: “I’ve done it in one hour and 40 [minutes]. That’s purely running alone so I don’t know how much running in a race and having people around you might spur me on. I need to finish that race, pick up the medal, dash to my lift and drive to the match.”

Mr Smith started running for the first time since he was a high school pupil with his brother around Whitlingham Broad in July this year. He started taking it seriously after October 12, where he surpassed his expectations to complete a five-mile run and actually ran for eight-and-a-half miles.

Norwich City manager Paul Lambert has sponsored Mr Smith, as well as the club’s chief executive David McNally, club legend Darren Huckerby and joint majority shareholder and husband of Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones.

Mr Smith is also raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

“My young half-brother has cystic fibrosis and he’s been quite ill a couple of times this year and it’s shocked me. During the summer he was ill in hospital.

“He said he wished his time was up. He’s only five years old,” he said.

“If I can raise £300 for both charities, I will be reasonably happy with that, but I hope I can raise more.”

You can sponsor Mr Smith online at www.justgiving.com/Mark-Smith74 (for Diabetes UK) or www.justgiving.com/smudgerncfc (for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust).

Are you planning a fundraising event? Call reporter Donna-Louise Bishop on 01603 772438 or email donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk

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