October 3, 2022

First with the Alderney News

Headteacher tackles the marathon – in his garden!

4 min read

St Anne’s school’s head teacher Martin Winward will attempt his first ever marathon today – in the garden of his own home!

Martin Winward is spending 14 days in isolation on return to the Bailiwick from the UK.

But rather than passing his days bingeing on box sets and bars of chocolate he has set himself the gruelling challenge of running 100 miles for charity.

He has already ticked off 5K and a half marathon and at first light today he will set off on his first whole marathon – a journey of 26 miles.

However he won’t be taking in the sights of London or New York or even Alderney. He will be completing it by doing hundreds of circuits of the perimeter of the shared teacher house opposite the school.

So if you are passing feel free to wave, call out a few words of encouragement, donate money, or even toss an energy rich snack into the garden to keep him going.

Mr Winward took on Run for Dementia during isolation to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society and to honour Peter Allen, a life-long family friend and neighbour in the UK who died with the devastating disease.

He explained:

‘My youngest child most recently undertook ‘Dementia Friendly’ training at his primary school which I feel is important as it is the number one killer with figures on the rise. Alzheimer’s Society is transforming the landscape of dementia forever and I felt I could do my bit to support and remember a loved one.

‘As I would be running back in my home town in Shropshire anyway if I wasn’t back in Alderney, in a fortnight of compulsory self-isolation prior to the start of the school term I wanted to continue to put my trainers to good use. I’m also mindful of the challenge of being confined to a room in a shared teacher house, wherein we are all currently self-isolating in readiness for the new term and the need to keep physically active and mentally in tune.

‘Challenging myself with the Run for Dementia was not only a way to create a positive, but also a way for me to look closer at how I can provide opportunities for young people in my school to better understand Dementia.’

Mr Winward began serious running at the age of 12 in Bolton with cross country running at school. His running incorporated more rugged terrain when teaching in the Falklands and moved to coastal paths in Alderney. At home during the summer break he was running daily in the South Shropshire hills.

Having mainly run distances of 5k and 10k in his running career he decided to use the challenge to smash a few personal goals. In the 55.21 miles he has already completed in the past six days he has run his first half marathon, which he managed comfortably.

He admits to a few nerves before setting off on his first 26 mile marathon. Running the same ground over and over again presents an extra mental challenge.

I always have a nervous excitement about getting out there, but my approach, to coin a clichéd phrase from one of sporting giants, is: ‘Just do it’.

‘The garden wraps around the house which may sound good but having completed 55 miles so far in the last six days or so, I have found doing a figure eight in the front of the house and drive to be easier to coordinate and pick-up speed. If that is at all possible without becoming dizzy!

‘But in the end it’s mind over matter. Determination to get the job done has always been my philosophy in life and particularly in sporting challenges.

‘This one is not so much physical but a mental one. I use a combination of motivational speeches from my playlist and running tunes from a compilation I have put together by artists like Calvin Harris.’

Friends, colleagues and pupils will also keep him going, as will the thought of raising more donations to a worthwhile cause. He has already raised £1,455.

‘I’ve publicised that I will complete a full marathon distance today and I’ve invited staff and children from St. Anne’s to call by, toot their horn and if they want to drop in some coins in a wheelbarrow at the end of the drive.

‘I’m confident I can do it.’

In the six or seven hours of running he will have time to reflect on his late friend Peter Allen, who with his wife Dorothy offered solace to a five-year-old Martin when he moved with his family to Horwich in Bolton, where they were renovated an old home. The bond between the two remained solid until his death from dementia.

Mr Winward reflected:

‘I recognise now as an adult the importance and significance that those around you, as a child growing up and in your formative years, have a footprint on your life that is immoveable and for most, can be profound.’

You can support his mission by going to

https:www.justgiving.com/fundraising/martin-winward

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