Patrick is running his first ever London Marathon to support keratoconus research

13 April 18

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Press Office

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Patrick de Mars is running his first ever London Marathon for Fight for Sight, inspired by his cousin Imogen, who lives with keratoconus.


I imagine people end up running the London Marathon for a whole host of reasons, and most of those reasons aren’t simply “I just fancied it”. For me, it was peer pressure. After my uncle and cousin ran in 2016 and 2017 respectively, both for Fight for Sight, the eternal tradition that someone would run London was instated – and I was next up.

Yet, as I also imagine is often the case, these chance circumstances turn out to be serendipitous in one way or another.

I feel fortunate to have raised money for a cause that means a lot to me. My cousin Imogen, who ran in 2017, has keratoconus, a condition which affects her cornea. She tells me that what that really means for her is endless eye appointments, dry eyes, not being able to see things without squinting and painful contact lenses.

Through Imogen, I know that sight conditions can be anything from irritating to completely debilitating. Anywhere on that spectrum, these conditions compromise something which most of us don’t think about but which is so enriching every waking second.

Fundraising for Fight for Sight so far has been a fantastic opportunity to observe and engage with real kindness in communities. I have received donations from people who barely know me or the cause I’m fundraising for, yet trust that their money is better off in my hands than in theirs. For the donors reading, you are all life affirming!

The second fortunate outcome of running the London Marathon is one which I can’t stop banging on about. Put simply, running is transformative. I am still stunned by the impact it can have on my whole life. It is hands down the closest thing to an all-purpose remedy/pick-me-up out there. I can’t get enough of it. I am fortunate to have Hampstead Heath on my doorstep, providing me with an ever-evolving selection of dogs to admire. Plus I have been blessed with the inspirational Jill Harrison, my coach, who is a fount of knowledge and wisdom on all things running.

So I admit it, I am among the lucky ones. Despite there being some flaws, it doesn’t discount the fact that for me, running a few times a week is fantastic. It embodies so many values that make me happy. Being outdoors, physical fitness, the satisfaction of working and improving, the space to be alone and thoughtful - they all come for free with running. Running is something in my day which, if all else fails, is an achievement that makes me feel good.

Of course, I’m looking forward to running without training, and maybe taking the odd Sunday off, but I’m already thinking about my next running challenges. The marathon experience so far has given me new optimism both about myself and others - goodness knows what the thrill of the day itself will do to me…

Weeping at the start line no doubt.

If you would like to make a donation to Patrick’s fundraising page, please visit: