Magherafelt doctor running London marathon for children’s charity

Dr Gerard Walls
Dr Gerard Walls

A doctor from Newbridge is getting set to put his best foot forward in aid of the children’s charity Barnardo’s in this year’s London Marathon.

Currently working in London at Kingston Hospital, 25-year-old Dr Gerard Walls is a past pupil of St Mary’s Grammar School in Magherafelt and studied Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast.

Dr Walls took part in the Dublin Marathon in 2013 but says it was a last minute decision to compete, whereas this time around he’s been following a training programme since the autumn and has been steadily building up towards the big day.

He says he chose to run in aid of Barnardo’s because he had been aware of its work supporting children and families growing up.

He knew families who had benefitted from the support of the charity and remembered his granny donating clothes to the local Barnardo’s shop in Magherafelt.

“Barnardo’s is the leading children’s charity in the UK but it also has a base in Magherafelt which offers support to young carers as well as another service providing support and mentors for young people who are experiencing problems or feel isolated.

He knew families who had benefitted from the support of the charity and remembered his granny donating clothes to the local Barnardo’s shop in Magherafelt

“It also offers a counselling service for children who have been bereaved and there is still a shop helping raise funds which is in the Rainey Street Car Park.”

Dr Walls says running the marathon will be a challenge but it will be personal achievement:

“Training for a marathon needs a lot of discipline, commitment and sacrifice.

“I have to fit in six to seven hours a week of running around my hospital shifts.

“You also have to think about what you’re eating, make sure you get enough sleep and have good equipment.

“It all takes time and preparation to plan and then of course there is the fundraising for Barnardo’s as well.

“But I’m really looking forward to the whole event. So far I’ve run 17 miles and hope to have done 20 before the day.

“The London Marathon is one of the most famous in the world and passes so many world renowned landmarks.

“There are also set to be record numbers of runners taking part which will add to the atmosphere.”

The London Marathon will take place on Sunday 26th April.

If you would like to sponsor Dr Walls’ London Marathon attempt in aid of Barnardo’s visit www.justgiving.com/Gerard-Walls2