Three generations of one family undertake marathon on balcony

A family of three generations say they are “blown away” by the response to their plan to walk a marathon on their balcony.

Ruth, 87, Charles, 58, Deborah, 57, and James Montlake, 31, will be walking a marathon’s distance together on their balcony in Greenwich on the cancelled London Marathon date.

The challenge will be in aid of myeloma, a type of blood cancer that Charles was diagnosed with in December last year.

Charles told the PA news agency: “Myeloma UK is a charity which does a lot of good work and when I was first diagnosed in December, like many people, I didn’t know anything about myeloma … they really were there for me and I feel like in what we’re doing, we’re giving something back.”

The family estimates that the challenge on the 11-metre-long balcony will take over 10 hours and around 4,000 lengths to complete.

They began the marathon at 9am on Sunday, and are expecting friends and family to cheer them on from the park below their flat.

Charles told PA: “As we live in Greenwich, we’re very close to the marathon … we always walk up the hill to watch it start and then come back down to cheer people as they pass by.

“We’re obviously going to miss the marathon … so we’re going to do it ourselves!”

The Montlake family (Charles Montlake/PA)

Aside from Charles’s weekly chemotherapy at Guy’s Hospital, he and the rest of the family must isolate, with neighbours delivering shopping for them.

Charles told PA: “We’ve been very lucky (during lockdown) because James is not normally in the UK. It’s really nice to have our son with us and that has really helped us a lot.

“Apart from that, we’ve barely had a moment to get bored, we’ve all got things to do.”

The challenge started with a £260 target to correspond with the marathon’s 26-mile distance, but the family now has a target of £10,000 due to funds pouring in.

Charles’s mother Ruth, who normally uses a walking frame, said: “I’m really quite excited about it … this has been a wonderful opportunity to help.

“I wobble a bit as I go along but there’s something I can always hold on to.”

Donations to Myeloma UK can be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/our-3-generation-24-hour-26-mile-balcony-marathon-challenge.

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