Dad's virtual London Marathon run for son with Down's syndrome

A father says his son was his ‘inspiration’ and ‘motivation’ for completing the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday.

Friday, 9th October 2020, 8:53 am
Updated Friday, 9th October 2020, 8:58 am
Dave Henshaw and 11-year-old son Max, who has Down’s syndrome

Dave Henshaw completed the 26.2 miles, running his own route from Southport to St Helens. He was greeted at the finish line by his family and his 11-year-old son Max, who has Down’s syndrome.

“The funniest thing for me was at the finish line. Max was stood waiting with family and friends who were all cheering me on, then as I crossed the finish line, Max got upset with me, as though I’d taken away his glory.

"We had to set up the finish again so he could do a very short run to the end whilst we cheered him on. He wouldn’t even stand to have a photograph with me, it certainly made all of us smile, he’ll always be our winner.”

Dave had planned to run the Virgin London Marathon in aid of the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) and Alderhay Children’s Hospital. But when the official London race was cancelled due to Covid-19, that father-of-two decided to take on the challenge anyway.

“It’s really sad that the run couldn’t be held in London, but the organisers came up with the ‘My Race, My Way’ campaign and that got everyone involved excited.

"Planning the route wasn’t as easy as you’d expect. I had to obviously stay safe and the weather forecast was looking very grim. But I finally decided to start out in Southport - lots of fresh sea air to help with my breathing for the first 12k, which really helped.

"My route then took me through Sefton running through Ainsdale, Formby and then out towards Maghull. Then into Merseyside through Melling, Kirkby and Knowsley, which eventually brought me out on to my final stretch of the East Lancashire Road all the way back to St Helens.

"It felt amazing. I’d trained hard for the Virtual London Marathon, but my legs/hips were still aching overnight after, they do say ‘no pain no gain’ though. The overwhelming sense of self achievement when you reach the finish line is so rewarding.”

Dave has raised more than £1,500 for the charities so far.

“Our son Max who has Down’s syndrome, is aged 11 now and for as long as I can remember, the DSA have always been supportive to my family.

"I felt it was only right that I should in some way try and give back as a way of saying thank you, as I know first-hand how difficult it can be at times and you need good advice and support.

"It felt amazing to be running in the DSA’s green and white jersey. I was chuffed to bits when it first arrived and it made the run even more exciting.

"So many people were cheering me on in the streets as I ran past with words of encouragement, drivers were beeping their horns and I’m convinced a lot of them recognised the logo and the vest and cheered in support of the DSA.”