A marathon running police officer has been forced to pull out of his fundraising challenge after contracting a virus that attacks the heart.
PC Martin Anderson had set himself the massive task of running 56 marathons in 56 weeks in memory of his mother Sylvia Blake, who lost her cancer battle in 2013.
The 999 response cop, who covers the Dacorum area, has called time on his challenge after being advised by medical experts following his diagnosis of myocarditis.
Martin said: “I am completely gutted to have to announce this. I know I had my various injury setbacks along the way but I knew that my dedication to finishing this would get me through.
“Running in memory of my incredible mum has been a huge honour, and I know she’d have been proud of me getting through 13 marathons. And I’d desperately love to push on and finish this for her. However, with this medical advice it leaves me with no choice.”
The virus causes inflammation of the heart muscle and, although milder cases resolve themselves without treatment, the most severe cases can lead to chest pain, heart failure and even death.
Martin was raising money for Rennie Grove Hospice - the charity that helped make it possible for his mother to die at home in Bennetts End.
“I’ve been advised by two separate medical professionals that following this recent health setback, I shouldn’t carry on with my marathon challenge,” said Martin. “With a busy job and a 12 year old daughter to consider, as much as I hate it, the decision is an obvious one.
The 35 year old has completed 13 marathons since starting his challenge in April, raising £3,000 for the charity.
He said: “ I wanted to thank you all so, so much for your incredible support. From the moment I announced this hairbrained scheme I’ve been inundated with wonderful messages, and your kindness has got me through some really difficult points in this challenge. I’ve had the pleasure of running with some great people, and my heartfelt thanks go out to you too.”
He has pledged to continue fundraising for the charity.