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News | 15th October 2021

Marathon adventure

Eskdalemuir man runs for special charity


A LATE-NIGHT hospital visit did not stop one local resident taking part in this year’s London Marathon.

Despite tripping up and hurting his foot a day previous, due to an unfortunate metal hook in a gutter while carrying food which led to a five-hour-plus visit to A&E, Geoff McQueen who lives near Eskdalemuir, managed to make it to the starting line.

He took part to raise money for Gene People UK – a cause close to his heart.

His seven-year-old daughter, Millie, has a rare genetic condition called blepharophimosis, ptosis, and epicanthus inversus syndrome, also known as BPES.

Present at birth, it mainly involves the development of the eyelids, but can also affect fertility.

“Gene People helped us understand the condition and put us in contact with other parents in a similar position,” said Geoff. “They have really helped us and I wanted to help them by near killing myself trying to run 26 miles in one go.”

He initially signed up for March 2020’s marathon but Covid saw it cancelled.

To maintain his fitness Geoff trained for 10-12 weeks running round his parent’s garden in Lockerbie while being live streamed on Facebook to raise money.

He started running and training again at the beginning of the year for the rescheduled October date.

Arriving in London on the Saturday before the race, however, Geoff suffered a mishap when he tripped over a metal hook in the gutter of a pavement while carrying bags of food.

He landed on his back and the contents of the bag exploded, including a jar of tomato sauce which created a scene worse looking than it was.

After limping to a friend’s, the pain kicked in on his foot and one of his friends who is a GP decided he needed a visit to A&E.

Geoff said: “If you have ever had the experience of A&E on a Saturday night in London, it’s not good.”

After waiting five hours and having had x-rays, the nurse practitioner confirmed nothing was broken and he was allowed home with painkillers.

The morning of the race, Geoff woke and found he felt okay to race, so he pulled on his compression socks, strapped up his elbow and made his way to the start line.

“I could feel the adrenaline kicking in, but I felt ready to start the race,” said Geoff.

“The start went well but after 19 miles I started to slow down but the crowd were a fantastic support.

“I stuck letters on my vest to spell out my name, the crowd were five rows deep in places and as I passed, they all roared my name to spur me on, that was amazing.”

He finished the race in four hours 58 seconds, which was just a smidge under his five-hour target.

Asked if he would sign up to do it again, Geoff replied: “Well don’t tell my wife but I’ve put my name on the ballot – I may not get picked but I feel I’ve unfinished business to do after being held back by the injury.”

Geoff has raised £4,490 so far.

  • To donate to Geoff’s charity of choice, Gene People UK, visit
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