18-year-old apprentice plans to take on London Marathon this year

PUBLISHED: 14:36 22 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:36 22 February 2016

Shopmobility apprentice Robert Smith who is set to run the London Marathon pictured with his manager Lorraine Stares and Christine Barton from The Broadway. Picture by:

Shopmobility apprentice Robert Smith who is set to run the London Marathon pictured with his manager Lorraine Stares and Christine Barton from The Broadway. Picture by:

He will be raising money for Macmillan

An 18-year-old apprentice at Bexley’s Broadway Shopping centre is training to run in this year’s London Marathon.

Robert Smith, who works for Bexley Accessible Transport Scheme (Bats), had never run a mile in his life before starting his training last year.

The former Erith School student plans to run to raise funds for Macmillan, after watching members of his family fight cancer.

Mr Smith, from Northfleet, said: “I’ve had a couple of family members affected by cancer, and the Macmillan nurses have been the ones to help throughout their illness and be there for them, so I decided this was the charity I wanted to support.

“They do an outstanding job and go above and beyond the call of duty. I’ve known so many people to be affected cancer in some way.

“I wanted to do my bit and wile I have the opportunity I thought ‘let’s go for it’.”

Having never run a full mile, the Darwin Rise resident started his training back in October, and admits he has come a long way ahead of the race in May.

He said: “Long distance running is something I never thought I could do. It’s been a big challenge.

“Training is going really well now although it’s been a bigger commitment than I originally thought.

“You build up a mile or two extra a week and before you know it you’re running 12 or 14 miles all in one, which amazing considering I couldn’t run at all at first.

“You don’t realise how good your fitness can get and how bad it was.”

Bats works with the shopping centre to provide the Shopmobility service.

Lorraine Stares, manager at the service, said: “Robert has been with us for just over a year now and is a really valued member of the team.

“It has been a privilege watching him grow and progress and get involved in charity work.”

Meanwhile the shopping centre’s manager Peter Sedge said: “So much training and preparation is involved in running the London Marathon and Robert has shown a dogged determination in his training schedule, even when the British weather was at its worst.”

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