Ipswich runners join together in Christchurch Park to complete 3.7 miles for Matt Campbell

Race organisers Kat Parnell, Luke Read and Vicki French. Picture: KATY SANDALLS

Race organisers Kat Parnell, Luke Read and Vicki French. Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

Runners gathered yesterday in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park to ‘finish’ the London Marathon for Matt Campbell, who collapsed and 3.7 miles from completing the event.

Runners from many different clubs joined together on the day. Picture: KATY SANDALLS

Runners from many different clubs joined together on the day. Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

It’s thought that well over 250 runners took part in the event which aimed to raise money for charity and help Mr Campbell, who later died in hospital, “complete his marathon”.

The run was organised by Vicki French, Kat Parnell and Luke Read who hoped that the event would be a perfect tribute to Matt and a way to help bring the local running community together.

All three of the organisers had run the London Marathon at the same time as Mr Campbell.

“We ran the London Marathon last week and heard about poor Matt Campbell collapsing at 22.5 miles,” said Mrs French.

The course involved three and a bit laps around Christchurch park. Picture: KATY SANDALLS

The course involved three and a bit laps around Christchurch park. Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

“We had a little group message and from that ideas kept coming and we ended up organising an event here.

“It’s taken off. It’s a good example of people power.”

Most Read

Initially only around 100 runners were expected to be taking part but news of the event quickly spread through social media and word of mouth.

Ms Parnell added: “Once one person says yes everyone wants to get involved and it just shows how committed and brilliant Ipswich is really.”

Runners of all ages took to the park to remember Matt Campbell. Picture: KATY SANDALLS

Runners of all ages took to the park to remember Matt Campbell. Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

Runners of all ages from young children to seasoned pros and those out to take a slower pace were represented at the event.

Many of Suffolk’s running clubs turned out, putting aside their usual rivalries to help raise money, including the Rushmere Community Runners, Ipswich Jaffa, Felixstowe Road Runners and the Kesgrave Kruisers.

The Ipswich event joined hundreds of others across the UK and across the world to run and raise money for Mr Campbell in what was known on social media as #FinishForMatt.

Mr Campbell was well known as a contestant in the TV show MasterChef: The Professonials in which he reached the semi-finals in December 2017.

Runners gathered for #FinishforMatt. Picture: KATY SANDALLS

Runners gathered for #FinishforMatt. Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

Mr Campbell, who was from Kendal, had been hoping to raise £2,500 for Cumbrian charity the Brathay Trust.

With help from over 20,000 supporters across the globe, the total on Mr Campbell’s Just Giving page now stands at over £274,000.

Speaking after the race, Ms Parnell summed up the event, saying: “It just restores your faith in humanity.”

Runners of all ages and abilities took part. Picture: KATY SANDALLS

Runners of all ages and abilities took part. Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

Runners gather at the end of the 3.7 miles. Picture:KATY SANDALLS

Runners gather at the end of the 3.7 miles. Picture:KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

Matt Campbell, 29, who died after collapsing while running the London Marathon. Picture: BRATHAY TRU

Matt Campbell, 29, who died after collapsing while running the London Marathon. Picture: BRATHAY TRUST/PA WIRE - Credit: PA