TWO Huntingdonshire footballers will be swapping their shirts for running vests on April 21 when they take part in the world famous London Marathon.
St Ives Town’s Jamie Alsop and Huntingdon Town’s Craig Green are entering the final month of training for the 26-mile 385-yard race which they are both running to raise money for charities: Alsop for the Sports Connections Foundation and Green for YMCA Cambs & Peterborough.
Green told The Hunts Post: “I started training in September when I was given my place in the race and I am looking to raise about £1,200 to go towards a wheelchair treadmill for the disabled gym users at the YMCA in Peterborough where I work.”
Green, who scored the winning goal earlier this season when Huntingdon knocked St Ives out of the FA Cup, did 20 miles on the guided busway to Histon and back on Sunday with his friend Luke Claxton, who is also running in London – but that will be the furthest the pair run before the big day.
His usual training run is around Grafham Water, which is 9.2 miles. He normally does two laps, but the miles should drop off in the final month of training.
Green, who was 32 on Monday, is no marathon virgin though – incredibly, his last one was on a treadmill. “As you can imagine, that was boring,” he said. “I did that looking at a wall in three hours 36 minutes. That was this time last year for Red Nose Day.
“I watched what John Bishop did on the Friday night [the comedian did a Paris to London triathlon for Comic Relief last year] and I just got up in the morning, went to the gym, and did a marathon on a treadmill.
“Time wise in London I was initially looking to do under three hours, but training hasn’t gone as well as expected. I picked up a calf injury and I haven’t fully recovered from that.
“I haven’t played for Huntingdon’s first team since October. I have played some games for the reserves but three weeks ago I called time on that until after the marathon, just in case.
“The way I like to play the game, the chances of picking up another injury were pretty high.”
Alsop, who is 28 and lives in Ely, hasn’t been able to take time off from the football with the full-back a key player for St Ives as the club push for promotion to the Southern League.
We spoke to him on Saturday morning before he headed off to play in the Saints’ 2-1 defeat at Peterborough Northern Star.
“I wasn’t really sure what I going to do charity wise but my team-mate Junior McDougald talked to me about Sports Connections and I thought that sounded brilliant,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for me.
“I started training about three months ago, just lightly – four or five miles – but now I’m up to 16. I feel I could push myself a bit further but with the football I can’t really do that.
“Getting an injury worries me a little but because of where we are in the league I’ve just got to keep going.
“I didn’t realise how far a mile was to run until I did it. Anything under four hours and I’ll be happy.”
To donate to Jamie or Craig’s cause, go their fundraising pages at www.charity giving.co.uk/jamiealsop and www.just giving.com/greensleeves007