Palgrave runner Alex Harvey was to be given the surprise of his life at his 30th birthday celebration last night.
For his wife, Jan, was finally going to let him in on a secret she has kept from him for more than three months - that she has signed him up, without his knowledge, to run in the 2014 London Marathon on April 13 alongside herself.
Mrs Harvey, 27, of Church Terrace, applied for the race in July last year, with the aim of raising funds for the charity Scope which supports disabled people and their families. “My little cousin, Bradley, who is 13, has cerebral palsy and he was my motivation in wanting to help the charity,” she said.
“I asked my husband at the time I applied if he wanted to do it too, but he said he wasn’t interested. But then he decided he would join me as I trained anyway.”
This time last year, the couple had no idea of completing a marathon. “We couldn’t even run more than 100 metres,” Mrs Harvey said. They took part in a boot camp and then started going to the gym to get fit. Once Mrs Harvey had applied and been accepted for the London Marathon, the couple decided to have a go at the Great North Run half marathon as a way of checking how Mrs Harvey was progressing in her training schedule. “Over 56,000 people took part so it was quite daunting,” she said.
Mr Harvey kept saying to his wife he wished after all he had applied for the London Marathon. “So I thought I would give the Scope organisers a call,” she said. “They have been very supportive of my training efforts and they said they could find a place for him as it would be great for us to run as husband and wife.”
However, Mrs Harvey decided to keep it as a surprise and was finally planning to tell her husband last night during a break away to celebrate his 30th birthday. Before the trip, she said: “I’m a bit nervous about telling him. I think he will be excited, but I really don’t know. It has been hard not being able to tell anyone and I have had to lie to so many people to keep it a surprise.”
Mrs Harvey said her husband’s support had been invaluable. “I couldn’t have done it without him. You have good weeks and bad weeks, and you need someone else to help you keep going.”
She hopes to raise £1800 each from hers and her husband’s efforts. Donations can be made at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/janharvey She has also organised a fundraising Clairvoyance Evening at Diss Corn Hall on April 25. Tickets cost £10 on 07724930064 or at firstname.lastname@example.org