Blackfield’s SUDEP superhero

We’re excited to announce that Tom Fitzmaurice, Lead Consultant and all-round great bloke, completed the Race to the King Challenge on Saturday for a charity close to his heart, SUDEP Action, raising £3,700 so far!

In early March, we first announced that Tom would be running the Race to the King on the 19th of June. Tom chose to run for SUDEP (Sudden Death in Epilepsy Patients) Action, a charity that works with not only those who are managing an epileptic condition, but also bereaved families. He was motivated to do so by the sad passing 11 years ago of Candy, a close friend from a severe epileptic fit. Tom believes that SUDEP Action is unwavering in its dedication to raising awareness of the risks of epilepsy and sudden death in epilepsy patients, preventing deaths and supporting bereaved families, so wanted to do something to support the charity.

Tom took up long-distance running again during lockdown as a way of keeping both his physical and mental health in the best possible condition. He’s not quite sure how he decided that the next logical step was to commit to a 53-mile running event across the South Downs! However, to challenge himself and raise money for a very worthy cause, Tom signed up to complete the double marathon challenge in memory of the person that left a positive and permanent mark on his life.

To prepare for the challenge, Tom started his training in January, running 3-4 miles a week and slowly building up. By the end of March, Tom was running around 40-50 miles every week, this included completing the 4x4x48 endurance challenge, running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours (a total of 48 miles over 12 runs with barely any sleep), and several long-distance races. It’s fair to say that over the last few months, he’s battled every British weather condition possible!

On the morning of the race, Tom was ready to go. There were no nerves; he knew that with the companionship of his running partner, Ian, the encouragement of his friends, family and colleagues, and the support and generosity of his employer, Blackfield Associates (part of the STR Group), he would cross the finish line.

Tom commented, “The Race to the King was quite literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It totalled out at 53.8 miles and over 5000 ft of elevation, starting at Goodwood, and included running, and eventually hobbling all along the South Downs Way, finishing at Winchester Cathedral. Crossing the line, I felt a huge sense of pride and achievement.”

He’d like to thank his girlfriend, friends and colleagues, all of whom have supported him throughout the last 6 months, and particularly our CEO Clive Hutchings, who met him at the finish line with a well-deserved can of beer! Tom stated, “Seeing those friendly faces around the course and at the end made all the difference and meant the world to me.”

Tom confesses that he occasionally got sick of the process but never wanted to give up. He believes that having something bigger than himself to work for was the motivation he needed to get to the finishing post. There was never a question in his mind as to whether or not he would get the job done. But would he do it again? “Absolutely,” said Tom, “Sometimes it was hell on earth, but I loved it and would certainly do it again.”

Tom’s fantastic efforts have resulted in £3,700 to date, donated via his JustGiving page and the amount continues to climb as donations and congratulations continue to pour in from friends, colleagues and strangers who have been touched by his cause.

Well done Tom, you are a legend!



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