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Norfolk brothers ‘raring to go’ for London Marathon debuts

James (left) and Alex Cole are to run the London Marathon in aid of Great Armond Street Hospital ANL-150422-175813001
James (left) and Alex Cole are to run the London Marathon in aid of Great Armond Street Hospital ANL-150422-175813001

A Fersfield man who is set to run the London Marathon tied to his partially-sighted brother says they are both “raring to go” ahead of Sunday’s event.

Alex and James Cole, of Fersfield and Roydon respectively, are aiming to raise £5,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital, with the pair having family and close friends who have needed the use of the facility.

It will be the first marathon either of the two men have ever attempted. Alex, 40, who works at J Eaton and Son in North Lopham, will be tied to his brother – who is partially sighted. Aged 36, James, registered blind, was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease in his mid-20s.

Affecting roughly one in 10,000 people, it causes a loss in central vision, although peripheral vision is retained.

He currently works as a freelance marketing consultant, and has roughly has seven per cent of his eyesight, compared to someone who has 20/20 vision.

However, a chest infection this week has threatened to halt their charity effort – but says he is determined to finish the marathon even it goes from a run to a fast walk.

“I have gone from quietly confident to anxiety but the doctors have given me some pretty strong antibiotics,” he said. “Alex has been awesome because he is a driven guy and has a military background.

“When we have dark moments and we miss our targets on our runs he is really good at the motivational side of things, picking you back up.”

Alex and James explained their choice of Great Ormand Street, after a close friend’s son had a number of strokes following a bout of chickenpox.

“The amount of care, support and how far Great Ormand Street Hospital went for them, the quality of life and support they gave was amazing,” said James. “I thought if I cannot do something for them after all they do for all these people, it is a pretty poor show if we can’t.”

Alex added: “When James told me about it, I have got kids, and it really choked me up. I just can’t imagine what some of the parents and children are going through there. We are just trying to do our bit really.”

He also had an injury scare in January when he picked up an achilles injury.

“I thought I was going to be off until a few weeks ago,” he said. “But I have seen the physio and me and my brother are raring to go.

“Because of his condition, James cannot do a lot of outside running so he has been running on a treadmill and it can be a bit of a shock when you are trying the real thing.

“James has done well to get to where he has got. It is not going to be easy.”

n To sponsor Team Cole in this Sunday’s London Marathon, visit www.justgiving.com/TeamColeMarathon. To sponsor by text message, text ACJC99, followed by an amount to 70070, for example ACJC99 £2

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