Marathon runner swaps Stockholm for Sonning

A marathon runner may have been looking forward to heading to the Swedish capital for his run but with COVID restrictions he pounded the pavement a bit closer to home.

Paul Furnell ran 26 miles for Taplow charity Thames Valley Adventure Playground earlier this month around his neighbourhood, starting in his home town of Reading before heading through the nearby Twyford and Sonning.

He had trained for the Stockholm Marathon – due to be held on his birthday, May 30 – but it was cancelled twice over pandemic fears, so he took to the roads in a time of three hours, 34 minutes.

Paul said that the route was made harder by the fact he had no crowd to help, with a few friends on hand to pass him energy drinks as he passed.

But he made it across the finish line on September 5 in addition to raising more than £1,000 for the Taplow charity, which has a close family connection to him.

Paul said: “They offered a virtual option to do [the marathon] so I thought as I have started training twice for it, I may as well give it a go.

“TVAP have done a lot for my sister in the past.

“It was hard work doing it on my own, usually you have got the crowd and things like that, but I am very happy.”

To donate to Paul, visit his fundraising page at

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