Jockey George Downing aims to raise funds for Bowel Cancer UK at the London Marathon.

Jockey George Downing aims to raise funds for Bowel Cancer UK at the London Marathon.

Downing, 31, has partnered 173 winners since taking out his licence in 2009 and has close links to the charity as his father Paul was diagnosed with the disease in 2016. “Running the London Marathon has always been something I’ve wanted to do,” he said.

“I run generally to keep fit and keep my weight down but running 26 and a bit miles is a lot different. To experience the day and raise money for a cause that’s close to me and my family will be really special.”

Explaining the driving force behind his quest, he said: “In 2016 my dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I was living at home at the time and it felt like a really dark time, like a cloud over your head.

It was strange to not be the person going through it, but to be so close to someone who was and see how terrible the disease is. My dad had major surgery and it wasn’t straightforward.

He had complications along the way and six months of chemotherapy. As a family, it was hard and we’re so grateful that he’s fully over it now.

While many would consider jockeys well equipped for the endurance challenge, Downing has been surprised at how difficult it has been to balance training alongside his day job. “Training has been different to what I expected – a long time on your feet running – and I said to my personal trainer at Oaksey House that I didn’t think it would suit my personal routine.

I thought it would help me keep my weight down but it’s been quite the opposite. I’ve spoken to a dietitian about taking in the right amount of food too – it’s been a hard job to do while being a jockey.

I’m hoping to do the marathon in about three hours and 40 minutes. I’m really looking forward to it and I’ve always been told it’s a good atmosphere.”

The rider has a busy week in store as he will bid to ride a winner in his father’s pink and green silks at Bath on Friday before the chance of a few rides at Nottingham on Saturday. I’d say he’d have a really good chance and it looks an ideal race for him to run in.

Your unmissable morning feed, direct to your email inbox every morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *