Football mascot to run virtual London marathon around pitch for charity

A football mascot who could not take part in the London Marathon this weekend will cover the 26 miles by completing 130 laps of his favourite pitch.

James Whaley, 33, who is Grimsby Town’s mascot, planned to take part in the London race this year to raise funds for the When You Wish Upon A Star charity, which helps terminally ill children.

But when coronavirus meant the event was cancelled for all but the elite racers, he slackened off his training, only to decide to complete the marathon as a virtual event, running around the pitch at Blundell Park.

Mr Whaley, who is the Mighty Mariner mascot on match days, said: “I haven’t done nearly enough training.

“The only thing I can hang on to is that the children we are raising money for are battling terminal illnesses, and I only have to run around this football pitch 130 times, as opposed to what the children are going through.

“I am sure I will definitely see the finish line.”

To make the challenge even worse, Mr Whaley will be partially dressed in the colours of Grimsby’s rivals.

He will be wearing a half Grimsby and half Lincoln City shirt with Scunthorpe United shorts.

Although he said he hoped his local rivals lose every week, he has carried out fundraising events with their fans previously.

About the challenge itself, he said: “I will be in a world of pain, so hopefully the donations see to that.”

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