HOMELESS Mark Lord lived in a tent and surfed friends’ sofas while he prepared for the biggest day of his life to raise cash for charity.
He nearly abandoned his dream, but on Sunday he put all his worries away and competed in the London Marathon, raising nearly £600 for the Children with Leukaemia fund.
Unemployed executive chef and college lecturer Mark, a former Ivy Bank pupil, had been homeless since the beginning of the year. His fortunes took a better turn a month ago when he was given a place at the Elizabeth Street Project run by Calico in Burnley.
Said Mark: “I was going to pull out, but Calico sponsored me to pay for the coach fare and a hotel, so it meant I could do it.
“It was the best thing I’ve ever done”, said Mark. “It was unbelievable. The crowd sweeps you along. It was really hot and there were a lot of people clapping, keeping you going”.
Mark finished the race in a little over five hours. “At the half-way stage I was well under my estimated time, at 2hr 14m, but it was tough towards the end; a lot of people were tiring.”
Mark trained for six months to be fit enough for the race. He ran the Blackpool half-marathon and also completed the Newcastle half-marathon last year.
“You really have to be fit,” said Mark. “It wasn’t easy sofa surfing around the country and living in a tent, but it was all worth it. So many people run for good causes and it was great seeing famous people, athletes like Jonathon Edwards and Iwan Thomas and actors from Emmerdale and Eastenders, who were at the Expo Centre the night before the race when we all registered and had our photographs taken. It’s something I’ll never forget.”