Kindleysides wins Spirit of London award for marathon effort
Simon Kindleysides has won a Spirit of London award after becoming the first paralysed man to complete the Virgin Money London Marathon.
The 34-year-old, from Norfolk, finished the 2018 marathon on The Mall at 22:37 on Monday night (23 April), 36 hours and 37 minutes after setting off from Greenwich.
Kindleysides is the first finisher of the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon to win a Spirit of London award and joins a list of winners that includes former boxer Michael Watson, the biggest individual fundraiser Rev Steve Chalke and Fajau Singh, the oldest person to finish the event.
“I cannot believe that of all the thousands of people who have run the London Marathon I have been chosen for a Spirit of London award,” said Kindleysides. “It actually makes me feel quite emotional and when I look at the list of other winners is mind-blowing.”
Kinleysides said he felt “on top of the world” after crossing the Finish Line where he was escorted by a team of police officers who came along to show their support.
“It was special,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to get there at mile 24. I was in so much pain but I kept telling myself ‘you’ve got this far, you’ve got to finish it’. I was thinking about all the support I had received and all the money that had been donated and that kept me going.”
Kindleysides was diagnosed with functional neurological disorder and a glioma brain tumour in 2013, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.
He completed the London Marathon wearing a Rewalk exoskeleton suit that enabled him to walk. He had a team of supporters with him the whole way including friends from Norfolk and physios from Physio Function.
He started in the unseasonably warm conditions on Sunday with thousands of other runners and had the opposite extreme of walking almost alone in the cold early hours of the morning.
“That was the toughest part,” said Kindleysides. “There was quite a bit of walking where it was just foxes keeping us company. But the support has been overwhelming. All along the route, I had people wishing me luck and drivers tooting their horns. It has been incredible.”
Kindleysides’ family were waiting for him for an emotional reunion at the Finish Line while his three children – Anya, 14, Corin, seven, and Lyra, 17 months – all sent their own personalised messages.
He said: “Anya texted me to say how proud she was, Corin sent me a video and I got a video of Lyra watching the television when I was on the regional news saying ‘daddy, daddy’ which was special.”
Kindleysides, who is raising funds for The Brain Tumour charity, has raised more than £8,000 so far and hopes that total will ultimately exceed £10,000.
Up to 26 people will receive a Spirit of London award this year. The award celebrate runners and others who embody the unique spirit of the world’s greatest marathon. To view a list of the winners who have already been named, click here.