A Nautilus member who trained for months onboard ship has completed the 2021 London Marathon in aid of the maritime welfare charity Sailors' Society - and to raise awareness of the challenges seafarers have faced due to the pandemic.
George Belcher, a third engineer who has served as a seafarer for more than seven years, took on the 26.2 mile race on 3 October 2021.
Most of Mr Belcher's training was done onboard ship using a tread mill, with his first running session ashore just six weeks before the race.
'It's great to be able give something back to a charity that's helping seafarers get through,' he said. 'The last 18 months, I've worked alongside some of the most professional crewmates who have suffered mentally because of the ongoing pandemic, or when contracts have been unexpectedly extended. They've shown great resilience and determination, carrying on with the job at hand.
'By taking part in this event, I wanted to show my appreciation for my colleagues who've made massive sacrifices to keep the world running through the pandemic, and to the maritime charities who've supported them.'
Mr Belcher joined six other dedicated Sailors' Society supporters in the run, including a group from Tindall Riley (Britannia P&I Club), raising more than £5,000 for the charity to date.
Sailors' Society CEO Sara Baade said: 'The mental and physical stresses of the pandemic and crew change crisis have taken their toll on many, and we've had a huge increase in demand for our support and welfare services at a time when fundraising has been quite challenging. We're so grateful to George and our other London Marathon runners for their incredible efforts on our behalf and offer our huge congratulations on their fantastic achievement.'
Next year's TCS London Marathon is planned for 2 October 2022 and the Society has guaranteed charity running places available.
Mr Belcher will be among the first to sign up. He had intended to do the marathon as a 'one off', but given the reaction and support he received, he now wants to run the London Marathon again for Sailors' Society. 'In fact, I've put my name forward again to run it next year.'