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Philip Holdway finally ticks off the ultimate Bucket List Challenge

At 41 years old Phil had entered the London Marathon ballot many times but when he was finally successful, one thing was certain; he would be doing it to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Phil Holdway during his training for London Marathon 2016

On Sunday, Phil took to the streets of London with nine other RAF Benevolent Fund runners and completed the 26.2 mile course in memory of his father, Philip.

Philip Holdway, who Phil was named after, served in the RAF as a master air electronics operator for 37 years but sadly passed away unexpectedly in 2015. Philip's father was an enthusiastic volunteer and fundraiser for the RAF Benevolent Fund and many other charities and was awarded an MBE for his efforts.

Phil was keen to follow in his father's footsteps by supporting the Fund – the RAF's leading welfare charity – and has raised an amazing £3,000.

Before the race, Phil admitted that although he was mentally prepared, he feared his body would let him down as he had no experience of running.  

As part of his training, Phil, who lives in Cromer, joined a local running club and followed a 16-week, couch to marathon programme. His full time job as an Emergency Medical Technician for the East of England Ambulance Service means that he works shifts and so fitting in the training was difficult at times. Phil was often finishing long night shifts and heading out for night time runs in the cold winter weather.

His perseverance and dedication is commendable as not only did he complete the London Marathon in five hours and 43 minutes he has lost three stone in the lead up.

Phil says: "Since giving up beer in January and following my 16 week training programme, I have lost three stone. My colleagues at work have nicknamed me 'The Hoff' since a photo of me running on the beach was published in a local paper.

"The day was absolutely fantastic, I loved it. I’m already looking at next year's ballot and thinking about entering again. The atmosphere was incredible and having the crowds screaming your name is crazy. By mile 20 I was on auto pilot and felt as though I was having an out of body experience but having the support of my family was great and really kept me going."

Phil was supported by the RAF Benevolent Fund cheerers as well as his family including his partner, sister and mother. Phil had the words 'Boody' printed on the back of his running vest, a nickname for his six-year-old daughter who also came to cheer her father along on the day.

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