Oxford United in the Community trustee Stuart Bradney described the “awesome” feeling he experienced when crossing the London Marathon’s iconic finish line on Sunday.
The 44-year-old completed the prestigious 26.2-mile route to raise funds for the charity and its work to inspire happier, healthier and better-connected communities in Oxfordshire.
Stuart finished the marathon 23 minutes ahead of his target time of four hours (3hrs 37mins) and continues to raise funds with the grand total now stretching past £1,500.
The run was a long time coming for Stuart, who was signed up to the challenge in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced organisers to postpone the event for over 18 months.
“It was an amazing experience, and I am so pleased to have completed the marathon inside my target time,” said Stuart. “Everyone who took part was really well supported, and the areas of Greenwich, Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf were all a cacophony of noise.
“It was hard to get into a rhythm due to the number of participants involves but I churned through the miles before hitting the dreaded ‘wall’ with two miles to go. Victoria Embankment is one long straight and it seemed never-ending.
“The final mile was really tough, it was a case of putting one foot in front of the other to finish the job as I could feel the lactic acid building up in my thighs. I promised myself I wouldn’t stop and was delighted to achieve my goal.”
Father-of-four Stuart explained funds raised from his marathon will help support Oxford United in the Community to deliver its new vision ‘Oxfordshire – A Community United’ in up to 15 of the county’s towns over the next three years.
As a proud parent and trustee of the charity, Stuart has witnessed first-hand the impact of the charity’s work and its ability to deliver more positive impact across the county.
He said: “Oxford United in the Community is a fantastic charity which works to benefit the lives of all people living in our county through football-based schemes and projects.
“The charity’s work extends far beyond the realms of session delivery on the pitch, though, and provides people with a platform to become the best version of themselves.
“All my children are growing up in Oxfordshire, and I want them to live in a better-connected, secure and safe area where they can experience the full benefits of the community team’s outstanding work.”
For now, Stuart plans to give his legs a well-deserved rest. But he didn’t rule out the possibility of another charity challenge in the future.
“I’ll definitely be taking a break,” laughed Stuart. “But there will be something further down the line, I’m sure. For the moment, I’ll give me legs a rest and consider my options.”
Chris Lowes, Head of Oxford United in the Community, added: “On behalf of everyone at the charity, I would like to congratulate Stuart on his amazing achievement and thank you for choosing to raise funds for our cause.
“He has gone above and beyond by raising more than £1,500 to support our work to provide every person living in Oxfordshire with a positive connection with the football club through our community programmes, projects and schemes.
“It’s an exciting time for the charity as we upscale our engagement across the county and help more people become the best version of themselves through the power of football.”
If you would like to support Stuart’s run by making a donation online, visit his JustGiving page here.
Oxford United in the Community is the football club’s official charity and helps inspire people to live happier and healthier lives in better connected communities via the power of football.
NewsletterSign up to the OUitC newsletter today to receive the latest news, events, information and offers directly to your inbox.