Worthing hotellier set for the London Marathon – 40 years after first running it

An 80-year-old Worthing hotelier is preparing to run the London Marathon on Sunday – 40 years after taking part in the first-ever event.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 4:21 pm

Michael Clinch was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the start of lockdown. After receiving the all-clear, he was determined to do something to give back to the charity, which supported him during his treatment.

Michael, who has a long association with Worthing’s Chatsworth Hotel and is a former Worthing mayor, said: “I had some help on the phone from Macmillan and going through my treatment I became aware of so many others who were being helped.

“I decided to do something to raise money for the charity and running the London Marathon is, for me, the last roar against the passage of time.”

Michael Clinch, 80, and his son, Nick, 39, are running in the London Marathon for Macmillan

Michael, who lives in Alfriston, East Sussex, was 39 when he took part in the first London Marathon on March 29, 1981.

Michael has vivid memories of the first London Marathon on March 29, 1981, which saw 6,255 people finish. In 2019 – the last pre-Covid race – 414,000 people applied to take part, with 42,549 eventually crossing the finish line.

He said: “The first London Marathon was absolutely extraordinary – I was running for Stoke Mandeville hospital where my mum had been treated.

“People were offering me pints as I ran past them and shouting encouragement, London didn’t know what had hit it.

Michael Clinch, 80, ran the first London Marathon in 1981 and is running this year for Macmillan, who helped him during his treatment for prostate cancer last year

“I remember chatting to a fellow runner who was struggling and I helped to chivvy him along. I saw him on the nine o’clock news that night explaining how a bloke from Worthing had helped him!

“I parked up somewhere in London, ran the whole thing in my plimsolls, got back in the car absolutely knackered and drove home.

“It took me four hours last time, which I was a bit disappointed with – this one could take me anywhere between six hours and 24 hours but it will be good fun.”

Michael, who has several marathons under his belt, is running with his son Nick, who is 39 – the same age Michael was in 1981.

Nick said: “Dad’s diagnosis last year was a devastating blow to us, but despite what 2020 had planned for the whole world, he fought it, had some successful treatment by some incredible doctors and nurses, and all the dedicated team at Eastbourne Hospital, and has been given some fantastic results.

“We have both run several marathons over the years, but this year we are going to be going to the start line together to raise vital funds for Macmillan, who were very helpful to dad during those dark months of 2020.”

Victoria Wright, Macmillan relationship fundraising area manager, said: “We are so grateful that Michael and his son Nick have chosen to run the marathon for us this year. The vital funds raised by inspirational individuals like them will help us continue to do whatever it takes to be there for everyone living with cancer from day one of their diagnosis.

“The Covid pandemic has had a devastating impact on Macmillan’s income, with thousands of crucial fundraising events cancelled. All at a time when people living with cancer need our support more than ever to help navigate through what continues to be an incredibly anxious period.”

Anyone who would like to support Michael and Nick’s fundraising can do so at their JustGiving fundraising page.