Buckinghamshire man will walk London Marathon backwards in support of Ukrainians

140323-tom harrison-Man to walk London Marathon backwards in support of Ukrainians
Tom Harrison is raising money for the Red Cross. Credit: PA Media

A father who previously crawled the London Marathon dressed as a gorilla is to walk the famous event backwards this year as a means of “looking over my shoulder for Ukraine”.

Tom Harrison, who lives in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, and works in project management, told the PA news agency that there are several reasons behind his idea to walk the London Marathon, which takes place on April 23, backwards.

He said: “At school we had a motto which was in Latin and it translated to: Look forward and look back."

“It meant look at what you’ve achieved, look at what you’ve done and where you’ve come from – don’t forget that – but also look forward to the future and what’s still to come and what you can still achieve."

Tom Harrison is to walk the London Marathon backwards Credit: Tom Harrison

He added: “I’m going to keep that in mind for the walk because I’m going forward but also looking backwards.”

The 46-year-old is no stranger to taking on unique feats, having walked 263 miles in 15 days from Land’s End in Cornwall to Parliament Square in London in September 2022, and crawled the 26.2 mile marathon route in a gorilla outfit in 2017 as his alter-ego “Mr Gorilla”.

He added that he thought his “quirky” and “eye-catching” idea would help to publicise the cause, with funds being donated to Red Cross to support Ukrainians embroiled in the ongoing war with Russia.

“There was a mass missile strike in Ukraine just recently, which was launched by the Russians, and knocked out energy supplies across lots of cities and killed numerous people”, he said.

Tom Harrison when he took on the London Marathon in 2017 dressed as a gorilla Credit: John Stillwell/PA

“This is something we don’t have to face here – yes, we have higher energy bills – but at least we can put the heating on for a bit when we need it, but in Ukraine a lot of people don’t have this option a lot of the time.

His £2,000 fundraising target – which needed to be reached by all those fundraising for the Red Cross so their place for the marathon could be secured – has been surpassed, but Mr Harrison hopes that even more donations will be made.

When asked about what he is most looking forward to when the day of the marathon arrives, he joked: “The finish.”

“Honestly, the opportunity to get going and seeing the crowds – that’s really what makes the marathon”, he added.

“So many people turn up to watch and it creates such a good atmosphere, as well as seeing the inspiring landmarks like Buckingham Palace, and that will keep me going.

“I’m sure I’ll get some comments like ‘mate, you’re going the wrong way’, but it will be funny and at least they are interested, but I’ll probably have to put something on my back which explains what I am doing.”