Injury forced Isle of Wight firefighter Mark Grimes to dramatically pull out of last year’s London Marathon at mile 23, but this year he is back with a vengeance.

Mark, who is based at Ryde Fire Station, underwent brain surgery in April 2015 to allow surgeons to remove 95% of an oligodendroglioma tumour. Since then he has used running to rehabilitate and get his life back on track.

Now back at work and keeping the Island’s community safe, he’s training hard for his second London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April.

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Mark said:

“I’ve always been quite a fitness freak, I come from a very sporty family with my dad was a boxing coach and my mum teaching netball. Joining the fire service was never a problem fitness-wise and there’s an ongoing obligation to remain fit.

“There was a risk after surgery that I might never run again. It was almost a double blow, with me being into fitness and being a firefighter.

“I’m one of the more fortunate ones, in that my fitness and wellbeing is pretty good after surgery. It was really scary thinking that running-wise, that could have been it for me.”

Since his surgery training and competition running has been vital for Mark and for his family. His wife Kathryn even takes part in running challenges with him, such as the Great South Run.

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Together the couple – with the assistance of friends, family and colleagues – have established Wight Brainy Bunch and have to date raised over £24,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity, Smile4Wessex and The Firefighters Charity.

With this year’s marathon less than 2 weeks away, Mark’s thoughts are with the challenge that lies ahead:

“I have tried so much harder to correct my mistakes after pulling out at 23 miles due to injury. I am more determined than ever to finish, so I can show my two boys my medal.

“It’s going to be emotional and nerve-racking standing on the start line again, remembering last year, knowing what I’m about to do and why I am doing it, because running to raise much needed funds for research and awareness is so important to me and my family.

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“After all the miles, pressure on my family and all the pain (in my knees) I am excited and ready to smash this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, to show and make everyone proud of what I am doing for The Brain Tumour Charity.

“Thank you to all the other Brainy Bunch runners, as one day the money raised will aid research that may help me again, and of course anyone else who may be effected by this horrid condition.”

Find out more about brain tumours, their symptoms and the research visit

More information about Mark and Kathryn’s charity efforts can be found at

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