By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service (and Peter’s Dad)
LONDON, UK (ANS – April 20, 2016) — As my younger son, Peter Wooding, who is the ASSIST News Service Europe Bureau Chief, prepares to run the London Marathon this Sunday April 24th, he reflects on his passion for marathon running over the past 20 years.
Peter, who is also communications officer for Transform Europe Now (www.transformeuropenow.org) will be running to raise funds for the charity’s anti-trafficking work across Europe.
“Tears ran down my face as I crossed the finishing line of my first ever London Marathon way back in April 1996,” he told me from his home in North Wales, UK. “Despite all the agony I’d endured over the past six hours of running 26.2 miles through the streets of London I felt incredible elation and relief, as I crossed the finishing line on the Mall opposite Buckingham Palace. As the handed me my medal and hung it from my neck I knew at that point I’d caught the marathon bug.
“Since then I’ve run another 17 marathons, including another six times in London and four times in Los Angeles. It’s hard to put into words why I’ve carried on putting my body through such pain over 18 marathons, but there’s something about the way the crowds, especially in London cheer you on and carry you through to the end and the feeling when you’ve achieved such a challenge.
Peter, who was born in Birmingham, UK, and yesterday (Tuesday, April 19, 2016) celebrated his 48th birthday, went on to say, “The London Marathon will always be my favorite one though, especially because of the amazing atmosphere, historic landmarks like Big Men, the House of Parliament, London Bridge and Buckingham Palace. Also there are so many eccentric Brits who take part.
“It’s hard enough to run 26.2 miles in normal running gear, but every year one man runs the entire race with the fridge strapped to his back. Another runner carries a ladder, so he can climb over the ‘wall’ which is the point in a marathon when you feel you can no longer run anymore.
“Before I turned 40 I managed to complete a marathon in under four hours, but since then I’ve struggled to stay as slim and fit, so now I’m just happy to finish a marathon. My training has gone well and a few weeks ago I managed to complete a 20 mile training run along a lovely bike path, which runs from North Wales to Chester, England.”
Over the years, Peter has raised money for what he calls “some amazing charities” and this year, he planning to raise funds for Transform Europe Now’s anti-trafficking work in Moldova and Greece.
“I had the privilege of visiting of these projects last year in Athens, where the lives of so many girls and vulnerable women are being transformed,” he explained. “I was overwhelmed when I was taken round the dark streets of the city’s red light district, but also inspired to see how this project is reaching out and offering new hope and livelihoods through their Threads of Hope work, which enables them to find a new and productive life.”
Peter concluded by saying, “I’m sure that knowing I’ll be raising funds for this vital work will spur me on to complete my 19th marathon this Sunday April 24.”
Please join with Norma and myself in today sponsoring our wonderful son, Peter Wooding, by donating online at: https://my.give.net/LondonMarathon2016ForTEN.
We thank you in advance for doing so and by doing so, and for bringing desperately needed help for the Threads of Hope work.
Photo captions: 1) Peter running one of his many marathons. 2) Dan and Peter Wooding outside of Staples Center in Los Angeles. 3) Norma and Dan Wooding with Peter outside their home in Lake Forest, California, when he made a surprise visit to see them.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, raised in the UK, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books and has a radio show and two TV programs all based in Southern California.
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