London Marathon: Max’s story


Running the London Marathon is an incredible experience. The atmosphere, the buzz and the feeling of taking on the ultimate challenge to support your NHS is hard to beat.

We’ve had some amazing fundraisers take on the marathon for us over the years, including Max, co-founder of local legends The Jolly Hog. Max raised a staggering £7,000, smashing the minimum target of £2,500, and most importantly had a great time doing so.

We asked Max to share his thoughts on the whole process, for anyone else considering the challenge.

Introducing Max, Jolly Hog co-founder and marathon runner

“Southmead Hospital has always meant a lot to me and our family. I was born there, and so were my brothers. My kids were born there and the hospital has also treated lots of family members and friends in life saving situations. It’s an incredible place, full of fantastic caring people.  

“The Charity asked if I wanted to do the London Marathon whilst we were donating food to the key workers during the pandemic. I initially said no, as I’m not built for running. But as time went on and the lockdown was so awful, I thought it was time for a challenge. I was in a position to try and raise money for the hospital, so I eventually came round.

Training for the London Marathon

“As a big lad, I knew I wouldn’t be able to blag my way through it, so I started training about nine months prior. I followed a pre-training programme building up strength and losing weight, and then a standard 16 week training programme religiously. The structure helped me be as ready as I could be for the big day. I would definitely suggest doing some long training runs with a mate, as it can get pretty lonely!

“Now that I’ve done it, I’m convinced that most of the battle is in your head. If you can push yourself mentally, you’ll be able to get through the physical pain for sure.

Top tips for fundraising

“The running is only half the challenge though, there’s also the fundraising! Here are my top tips:

  • Tug on the heart strings of the Bristol community and tell them how much Southmead Hospital and the NHS means to you.
  • Ask your friends and family once at the start and then once near the big day, or a few times throughout the journey. Make sure you don’t ask every week.
  • Ask as many business contacts as you can. I luckily got a few really big donations from companies. It’s an easier way to get to your target, as it’s company money rather than personal.
  • Shamelessly ask people for donations. It might feel a bit awkward, but people want to support a massive challenge like a marathon, so just bite the bullet and ask people outright.

“The day itself was one of the best days of my life if I’m honest. I’ve been to a lot of sporting events, but I think The London Marathon is right up there with the best atmosphere you’ll ever experience. It felt like millions of people shouting for you the whole way round – incredible.”  

If you have secured a place in the London Marathon and would like to support your local NHS, get in touch with Hannah for all the support you’ll need.

Contact Hannah

Community Fundraising Manager

07920 413700

Thank you for your support – it makes a huge difference to our patients, their families and our staff.

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