Journeyman John Collins

Metro Marathon Challenge

1 minute read
Words Tom Ransley
Photography Benedict Tufnell
Published 08.09.21

After the intense culmination of five hard years, most Tokyo 2020 Olympians are enjoying a well-earned break. Not so for John Collins. The two-time Team GB Olympian is training towards the London Marathon but his target comes with a twist. Preceding the 26.2 mile race, John is set to endure a two-week suffer-fest.

Photo GBR M2x John Collins strokeseat
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Collins who came fourth at Tokyo 2020 in the men’s double will run between every London Underground and Docklands Light Railway station and sleep rough each night. If he makes it to the finish he will have run, walked, hobbled, and crawled a total of 305 miles and ticked off all 315 stations.

The world and European medallist will not run alone, he has teamed up with psychologist and author Dr Kevin Dutton. They have named this ambitious feat of ultra-endurance, The Metro Marathon Challenge. Together, John and Kevin, hope to raise much needed funds for homeless young people and are working with The Running Charity, an independent charity that believes in the positive power of running.

John and Kevin start on September 19th and will be set off by Hugh Jones, the only Londoner to have won the London Marathon. Overseeing the team’s security will be Steven Billy Mitchell CBE DCM MM, a former SAS soldier turned novelist, who is best known by his pen-name Andy McNab. For two weeks the team will sleep rough mostly in parks and when the route allows for it, friends’ gardens.

One such friend is Iron Maiden’s frontman Bruce Dickinson. With 150 miles complete Day 6 could feel like the longest day so the two runners will shed their chains of misery and camp on Bruce Dickinson’s patio. Four days and 50 miles later it will be the turn of snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan to lend a hand and support the team.

A team of data scientists calculated the optimum start point, Chesham, and the shortest route, ending in Lewisham, the closest station to the London Marathon start line.

If all goes to plan the two runners will reach the start line of the London Marathon on Day 15, October 3rd.

Photo GBR M2x John Collins in the bowseat
Credit Benedict Tufnell