A Nantwich college worker put his best foot forward in the 2013 Virgin London Marathon to raise funds for a prominent local charity.

Mark Hardy, student services coordinator at Reaseheath College, ran in aid of North West Air Ambulance (NWAA) and hopes to raise £2,000.

A veteran of three previous marathons – London 2009 and 2012 and Rome 2010 – he completed the race in just over five hours.

Mark said: “Being among 38,000 other runners is such an amazing feeling. The atmosphere at the London Marathon is unbelievable and the crowd really carries you along.”

Mark was also one of a team of five amateur cyclists who cycled from London to Paris at Easter to raise money for the NWAA.

The team included three other staff members from Reaseheath College, agriculture lecturer Natalie Gascoyne, assistant student services manager Greg Otto and safeguarding officer Lionel Smith.

They were joined by Richard Chadwick, a lifeguard from Crewe.

The ride covered 260 miles and took four days, with the team battling gale force winds and long uphill climbs. They raised around £1,200 in sponsorship.

Mark is hoping to raise a further £1,000 for the NWAA later in the year when he tackles a sponsored back to back climb of the three Peaks of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdonia.

In all he hopes to be able to hand over £3,000 from his personal fundraising to the charity by the end of June.

Mark’s interest in the NWAA began when it was selected as Reaseheath’s RAG (raising and giving) charity in 2011.

He said: “The North West Air Ambulance provides a service which can literally mean the difference between life and death for injured or seriously ill people.

“I was so inspired by the work that it does that I vowed to continue to support it through fundraising.”

This year’s college charity is Broughton House, a care home for ex-servicemen and women of all ages and from all areas of the armed forces.

Supporters can donate to Mark’s charity fundraising at justgiving.com/mh-sos

(Pic: Mark Hardy shows off his London Marathon medal)

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