Today we’re cheering for dad-of-two Jamie Coggins, a fantastic fundraiser from Inverclyde who was inspired by a family friend with Huntington’s disease. A self-confessed former couch potato, Jamie (47) took part in his first marathon in tribute to his friend Colin Elliott, despite never having run before.
Since then, the dad-of-two has raised more than £7000 for SHA by completing the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon and taking part in this year’s virtual replacement event, which took place on Sunday, 4 October.
Jamie took on the 26.2-mile virtual marathon challenge as a solo run around the streets of London, close to where he grew up, wearing a t-shirt with Colin’s picture on it, which was gifted to him by Colin’s wife Brenda and her family especially for the run.
“Colin was the father of my daughter’s school friend, which is how I got to know him and his family. When I learned that he had Huntington’s disease, I decided to find out more about Scottish Huntington’s Association, how it supports families and what I could do to help.
“In 2014, I was made redundant, and I donated some of the redundancy money to SHA and supported a few of the charity’s fundraising events. Then in 2018 there was a post on SHA’s Facebook page saying that someone had dropped out of the London Marathon and their place was available.
“Despite having spent 25 years avoiding exercise, and developing diabetes, I just signed up then and there for the 2019 event. I had nine months to train, and I started in July 2018 with the couch to 5k. Then it gradually increased to 10k by New Year, and with a couple of weeks to go until the big day, I reached 20k.
“All the while, the generosity of friends and family in supporting my fundraising was amazing. Sadly Colin, the inspiration for my running, passed away just before the marathon day, but I always knew I would finish it for him.”
Colin, from Greenock, passed away aged 49 in April 2019, just a week before Jamie’s marathon triumph. Brenda had hoped to mark the first anniversary of her late husband’s death by cheering Jamie on in person in London this time around.
But the April event was cancelled due to the pandemic and replaced with the virtual challenge earlier this month.
Brenda said: “When Jamie announced he was going to do the marathon again I knew immediately that I wanted to go and support him in Colin’s memory. When COVID put a spanner in the works, I was disappointed as it would have been a great way to mark Colin’s first anniversary.
“Jamie is a true inspiration and he should indeed be very proud of himself.”