University of Suffolk students help runner James Nial from Ipswich prepare for London Marathon

James Nial will run the London Marathon on April 23. Picture: University of Suffolk

James Nial will run the London Marathon on April 23. Picture: University of Suffolk - Credit: University of Suffolk

Students put an Ipswich runner to the test ahead of a big race and found he is just as fit as a professional footballer.

Sports students tested James Nial's fitness ahead of his run. Picture: University of Suffolk

Sports students tested James Nial's fitness ahead of his run. Picture: University of Suffolk - Credit: University of Suffolk

James Nial, who works at the University of Suffolk, will take on the London Marathon on April 23 and he has already raised £1,400 for charity Asthma UK.

Sports learners from the university got the father-of-two on a treadmill on Tuesday for a performance analysis to ensure he was up to the task.

Will Allen, studying strength and conditioning for football, and Steve Smith, doing a sport and exercise science course, conducted the trial and they calculated Mr Nial should be able to complete the 26.2 mile run in three hours and 24 minutes.

They also discovered the 33-year-old has the same fitness levels as a professional footballer or Rugby Union back player.

(L-R) Will Allen, Dr Gavin Devereux, James Nial and Steve Smith. Picture: University of Suffolk

(L-R) Will Allen, Dr Gavin Devereux, James Nial and Steve Smith. Picture: University of Suffolk - Credit: University of Suffolk


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“It’s quite amazing for a mere mortal who runs before work on most days and weekends,” said Mr Nial, who is head of management information at the Ipswich-based university.

Mr Nial, of Bridgwater Road, chose to raise money for Asthma UK because he was diagnosed with the condition when he was 19 after a bout of a glandular fever-type virus.

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He added: “I had probably two or three severe asthma attacks around that time where I was hospitalised and the amount of advice and guidance I got from Asthma UK was fantastic.

“You can pick up the phone and talk to someone who is a specialist in Asthma and they helped me manage my condition.

“It was a massive reassurance for not only me but my family who saw me go from a relatively fit and healthy person to having this thing that I knew nothing about, effectively.”

The aim is to collect £1,800 for the cause.

Mr Nial, who lives with wife Linsey, and sons Oliver, three, and Samuel, five, held a quiz and raffle last Friday at Bourne Vale Social Club which brought in £695.

Thanks was given to Mr Nial’s family for their support and businesses that donated prizes including Capelli’s hair salon, Christine’s florist, Ipswich Town Football Club and Aspall cider, among others.

The Greyhound pub in Ipswich also put the proceeds from its Christmas quiz into Mr Nial’s fundraising pot.

Mr Nial added: “I have been overwhelmed by the support of local and national business.”

To donate, see here.

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