The idea of doing a marathon was “ludicrous” to reformed smoker and Borders General Hospital staff nurse James Gold.
But the 46-year-old, of Queen Elizabeth Drive, Galashiels, is about to line up at the start of the Edinburgh Marathon next month.
For James has decided to undertake the challenge to raise money for a bladder scanner for Ward 12, where he works.
He explained: “I stopped smoking four years ago and decided to take up running. The running became an addiction and I have done five half-marathons since then.
“Now, a half-marathon is very hard in itself, but it’s within my comfort zone and I had no wish to do anything more than that. The thought of doing a marathon was completely ludicrous to me and no option at all.”
But Ward 12, where he has worked for six years, has to borrow a scanner from other departments – the £5,000 piece of equipment can help cut the number of patients needing catheters and so reduce associated infections.
On one occasion when borrowing the scanner, a nurse in the other department suggested Ward 12 raise money and buy their own as that was what they had to do. James told us: “This got me thinking. Then a fellow staff nurse and close friend, Steven Horton, who runs marathons and endurance events, brought up the idea of doing a full marathon to raise funds.
“I hated the idea of running 26 miles, but I think I had to step out of my comfort zone and go for it. He informed me that he would do it with me and we would train on the big runs together.
“This sealed the deal and at least I have someone to moan at when it gets tough – I ran more miles in my first week of marathon training as I had for the whole of November!”
James doubted he’d raise the full amount, but when he mentioned his idea to the ward, staff were in support and have organised a cake stall and other events.
He said: “My hope is beginning to grow. Some people are natural runners and have a fluid ability. I believe myself to be someone who is not natural at this, but gives it a go!
“The preparation is something I was under no illusion about. I have been going through very dark places at times and stick as best as I can to a set programme of training.
“I hope to do the marathon in four-and-a-half hours, but this may vary. And if I finish, it will be my last. I will stick to halves from then on.”
The marathon takes place on May 25 and colleagues from the ward are stationing themselves around the course to cheer James and running partner Steven along.
Ward 12 is also holding a Handbags and Gladrags night on Thursday, May 15, at the Buccleuch Hotel, St Boswells, at 7pm. The £6 tickets include cheese, wine and a raffle ticket.