With the London Marathon just weeks away, we would like to express our sincere thanks and support for John Nelms, a local Hertfordshire Police Officer who has chosen to run not only the 26 mile London Marathon for Crimestoppers but also the Thames Path 100.

The 100 mile course is a marked point-to-point race which takes runners from Richmond in South West London to the centre of Oxford. The course follows the meandering route of the Thames against it's flow and is flat and fast with the majority on groomed paths, trails and paved pathway. 

John has never officially run for a charity before but this time he wanted an added incentive so he started  to look for a good cause to run for. As a Police Officer he was already aware of the great work Crimestoppers does.

As a result of information passed to Crimestoppers:

  • One person every ten days is charged with murder
  • During 2012-13 over £65 million worth of illegal drugs were taken off the streets
  • Around 20 people are arrested every day

We asked John, why take on these challenges?

"That’s a question I am often asked when people hear that I am planning to or have just completed another ultra-marathon.  Well, my wife thinks it’s a mid-life crisis, my kids think I’m just mad but I look upon it as a challenge that I will not allow to beat me.

My running “career” started in early 2011. I applied for a place in the London Marathon just because I saw it on TV and thought it looked like a great experience.  This was the 3rd year in a row where I had failed in the ballot for places. Someone suggested that I do a half marathon instead. I thought – half marathon? How hard can that be? I'm a fit, youngish policeman, I can do 13 miles.

So, in March 2011 I started the Silverstone Half. Now I had never run more than 10 miles before this and it almost killed me – by the time I finished I was hallucinating, had blisters on my blisters and almost passed out through dehydration.   “NEVER AGAIN” I was heard to say.

But two weeks later, I started thinking that maybe it wasn’t that bad and I’m sure I could do better if I put in a bit more training. I did some research into shoes, nutrition and running style and over the next 12 months completed four half marathons and knocked over half an hour off my time.  

May 2012 - I again failed to get into the London Marathon so I did the Milton Keynes Marathon instead. The weather was awful, wind and rain the whole way and although I finished it, I was again heard to say “NEVER AGAIN”.

July 2012 – I was talked into entering the Stevenage Marathon. About an hour before the start, I realised that a mate running with me had actually entered me into the ultra-marathon.  (That is the term for any run longer than the 26 miles 382 yards of a standard marathon.)

This was on the same course as the marathon, but just adds on an extra 6 miles at the end. 

“OK, why not, let’s give it a go.”  32 miles later and I actually felt OK.  Before the end of the year I had done two more ultras, knocked 30 minutes off my Stevenage personal best and had definitely caught the “ultra-running bug”.

Then someone asked me; "Ever heard of the Thames Path 100?”  I’d been camping on the Thames and knew there was a path but nothing more than that.  Forward to March 2013 and I’m lining up to have a go at a 100 mile non-stop race from central London to Oxford along the course of the Thames.  The weather was again awful.  It was snowing and the wind was so hard the snow was horizontal.  I can remember running past Runnymede not being able to see 20 feet in front of me.  I was woefully un-prepared for a run of this distance – I had no idea how to run in the dark and how to deal with the cold and the physical demands of keeping moving for over 24 hours.  I quit at 50 miles and swore “NEVER AGAIN.”

So this year, having failed again to get a place in the ballot, I’m running the London Marathon for Crimestoppers.  I’ve just completed a 45 mile ultra from Aylesbury to London and I’m having another go at the Thames Path 100 in May.

Why? I think my kids got it right first time!"

How do I sponsor John? 

If you would like to show your support by sponsoring John then please use the following link www.justgiving.com/john-nelms.  Or you can sponsor him by text message straight from your mobile.  Just text NELM69 then a £ sign followed by the amount to 70070.  E.g. NELM69£5 will send Crimestoppers £5.