Charlton Athletic will be well represented in this year’s London Marathon as Johnnie Jackson takes on the mammoth challenge alongside First-team Sports Scientist Ben Talbot to raise money for Demelza Hospice Care.
The pair have been in training for a number of weeks ahead of the 26.2-mile task which takes place on April 28th and begins in nearby Blackheath before passing by The Valley at the five-mile mark, and Assistant Manager Jackson is looking forward to fulfilling a lifelong ambition.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” he explained.
“My dad did it in the late 80s and I always said I was going to do it when I finished playing and now I’ve finished playing! It’s given me something to carry on training for, it’s a big challenge and a great way to raise funds for a good cause.”
Both Jackson and Talbot have been urging each other on throughout their training and the former skipper emphasised just how much it has helped for the two of them to train as a team.
“It’s been good training as a pair,” said Jackson.
“There’s only been two or three runs that we’ve done solo – the others have all been done together. It makes such a big difference because there has been days when he’s not fancied it and I’ve dragged him through and vice versa and we’ve barely missed a step. When you’re doing the long runs, you’re out there for hours so it’s nice to have company.”
Talbot added: “I’ve been in football for about five years, so it’s completely different to anything you would do for marathon training. For me to look at different marathon training plans and make a plan for me and Jacko has been really interesting.”
Ultimately, the task of completing the marathon is all for a fantastic cause, with all money raised by the pair going to Demelza Hospice Care – a charity which is close to Jackson’s heart.
“It was an obvious choice for me,” he said.
“Having kids myself, I’ve always opted to visit Demelza every Christmas with the club and have built up a bit of a relationship with them, so it’s close to my heart. Seeing the job they do down there makes it an easy fit for me. We approached them and they were more than delighted to have us on board.”
Between the two of them, the Addicks pair have already raised well over £3,000 for the charity, but supporters are urged to continue backing them to get that figure as high as possible before April’s event.
“I just want to make as much money for them as possible because what they are doing is brilliant,” added Jackson.
“As little or as much as anyone can give helps a huge amount and even just supporting us by retweeting or spreading the word does a lot to help the cause and we’d like to thank all those who have already helped in any way they can.”