Marathon garden athlete thanks Vistry Group for donation as he raises £26,000 for NHS

02 April 2020

A former international athlete who completed a marathon in his six-metre back garden has achieved his target of raising more than £26,000 for NHS charities thanks in part to a national housebuilder.

James Campbell garden marathon Vistry Group
James Campbell finishes his marathon with Vistry Group donation 
Bovis Homes – part of the newly-formed Vistry Group – answered James Campbell’s call for £300 to beat his JustGiving target, after colleagues at the housebuilder watched his heroic feat live on YouTube.

James, a former Cheltenham Town youth footballer, from Up Hatherley, completed his 6.4 metre garden marathon for NHS Charities Together in just over five hours, on his 32nd birthday.

Thrilled with his achievement, which caught the attention of celebrities, James said: "I'm hugely grateful to Vistry Group for their support in helping me achieve my target. I've been recovering well, though still very sore! I'm delighted to have completed the challenge and overwhelmed with all the support I received."

Sir Geoff Hurst, the 1996 World Cup hero, has been among those to praise James. The race started at 9am on Wednesday and included a commentary team, with several well-known athletes contributing, including Katharine Merry and Andy Turner.

Friend Charles Bond, area sales manager at Vistry Group, said: “James is inspirational, this was a great idea and he did brilliantly to succeed in completing a full marathon in his garden. He’s a great guy and it’s wonderful that he’s raised so much money for NHS Charities Together.”

James, who competed in javelin at the Commonwealth Games and is the Scottish national record holder, measured his distance using a Fitbit. He had two duct tape lines marked out, plus a drinks and snacks station.

Danni Wood, communications officer at Vistry Group, had James as a personal trainer for over a year.

“James is very friendly and passionate about fitness but it’s still such a surprise he’s done so well and raised so much!”, she said.

James had tweeted on Monday that he would take up the challenge if he received 10,000 retweets.