John Farnworth completes Virgin London Marathon

18 April, 2011

Completing the Virgin London Marathon is an incredible feat for runners but International Freestyle Football Champion John Farnworth decided to make the 30th Virgin London Marathon a little more tricky for himself – by completing the 26.2 mile route juggling the football for the entire distance (without dropping it) in 12 hours 15 minutes, crossing the line in the pitch black after 10pm on Sunday.

John (25) from Lancashire completed this endurance event in a bid to raise as much money and awareness as possible for footballing charity Kick4Life an award winning charity, which uses football to deliver a health education, HIV testing and life-skills program for orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho, southern Africa.

John says about the challenge: “I have worked with Kick4Life in the past and know what an incredible difference the charity makes to the lives of young people in southern Africa. I really wanted to do a challenge that would push me to the max and raise money for the charity.

“The journey leading up to the marathon and indeed on the race day was incredible. The support we’ve received has been fantastic – from people texting donations, making donations online and just tweeting and texting me every step of the 26.2 mile journey. The race was far harder than I imagined not just physically but mentally too. Whereas other runners could enjoy the wonderful sights of London my focus was on the ball and the pavement the whole way round. I would also like thank the sponsors of the challenge Street Snooker and Park Inn hotels for sponsoring our accommodation in the build up to the race. And of course the wonderful generosity of the people who donated on the day.”

The money raised will go towards The Football for Hope Centre in Lesotho. Kick4Life has been selected by FIFA to host a sport, health and education centre in Lesotho where the charity will deliver activities for children living on the streets. A high-profile launch event will take place in September 2011 when John will visit and see how the money he’s raised will make a difference.

Steve Fleming, co-founder of Kick4Life says: “We are thrilled with John’s achievement which is down to sheer hard work, effort and determination. There is no escaping that this was one of the toughest challenges I have ever encountered but John’s spirits never waivered and he crossed the finishing line with a huge smile on his face. The money is still coming in but what we have raised will enable us to make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people living in southern Africa. Every £10 donated means Kick4Life can deliver health education and an HIV test to one disadvantaged child with those testing positive referred to ongoing medical treatment and support. Having raised £544 on Sunday, it’s great to see John’s challenge making a real difference.”

The freestyle football marathon was sponsored by Street Snooker, which is unique fusion of football and snooker and founder Marco Boi says about John and the challenge: “We were thrilled to sponsor this incredible challenge. We’ve seen the amazing work Kick4Life does and the money raised through this activity will be put to fantastic use. John is an inspiration to many, both here in the UK and abroad. The football freestyle marathon mirrors everything we as a company pride ourselves on – commitment, performance, craftsmanship and delivering products, which are relied upon by athletes throughout the world.”

To support Kick4Life and sponsor John as he attempts this challenge please dig deep and visit

www.virginmoneygiving.com/freestylemarathon

Photography by (c) Catherine Chapman Photography

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