Belfast Telegraph

Cyclist gearing up to finish marathon charity challenge which claimed brother’s life

By Patrice Dougan

The brother of a man who died while attempting a marathon charity feat is to pick up where his brother left off and finish his challenge.

Jonny Crockett (25) will this month complete the charity cycle and marathon run which his brother Gareth started last year, before being knocked down by a motorist.

Gareth (27), from Moira, was killed just four days after he and friends Jeremy Davison and Neil Drew began an eight-day, 500-mile charity cycle from Belfast to London, taking in four marathons along the way.

They named it the ‘Beldon Challenge’, and were doing it in memory of their friend John Erwin, who died from Leukemia in 2010.

Now Jonny has teamed up with Jeremy to complete the challenge his brother died doing.

They will start close to where Gareth was killed in Anglesey, and cycle the 250 miles to London, running two marathons in four days. They intend to finish with the London marathon on Sunday April 22.

Gareth and Jonny’s father, William (57) — who is acting as back-up support, following them in a car along the route — will also run the London marathon with them. Jonny said it will be an emotional day to finish the challenge with his father.

“If we both cross the line together that will be an amazing, proud and emotional moment,” he said.

Explaining why he decided to take up the charity fundraiser, Jonny said: “I felt I owed it to Gareth to finish the challenge for him and finish off the great work he started.

“The whole challenge meant so much to him, and really to be able to try and finish it off would mean so much.”

But Jonny admitted his parents were apprehensive when he told them his plans.

“My parents were concerned about me cycling on busy roads, but when I talked it through with them they realised how determined I was to do it.”

The dentist, who is now based in Leeds, said the idea had been on his mind since Gareth’s death.

Jeremy agreed to take up the challenge again in honour of his two university pals.

“Gareth always loved running and cycling and was quite competitive. It would have really annoyed him not to have completed the challenge,” he said.

“It will mean a lot to the Crockett family for Jonny to do it and bring a bit of closure as well.”

Jeremy admitted he is going to be “pretty nervous” throughout the four days, particularly given the similarities between Jonny and his brother Gareth, and because he still finds it difficult to cycle on busy roads after his friend’s death.

“We have to find something positive out of this and that’s raising so much money for leukemia research,” he said.

Jonny and Jeremy have set a target of £10,000 for their charity challenge. To donate money to Leukemia and Lymphoma Research, visit www.justgiving.com/2012Beldon

Background

Last April Gareth Crockett, Jeremy Davison and Neil Drew set off on an eight-day, 500-mile cycle from Belfast to London. They named it the Beldon Challenge, completing four marathons — Belfast, Dublin, Bristol and London — along the way. They were motivated by the death of their good friend John Erwin, who died from Leukemia in 2010, just three weeks after his diagnosis, aged 27. The friends set off in a bid to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Research. But on day four of the challenge, Gareth was killed in a collision with a motorist as they cycled through north Wales. After his death, donations to their fundraising page totalled £50,000.

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