A BRAVE runner is determined to complete the London Marathon in tribute to his beloved wife who died of cancer on Tuesday.
Two months ago, sporty couple Alistair and Nicola Richards were enjoying a skiing and snowboarding holiday in France with no inkling that anything was amiss.
Less than a fortnight later, Mrs Richards, who was a partner at Salisbury law firm Trethowans, was being given the news that she had terminal pancreatic cancer.
And in the early hours of Tuesday she died, just days before her husband was about to run the London Marathon to raise money for Salisbury Hospice as a thank you for the “amazing” care she had received.
Now Mr Richards is more determined than ever to complete the run.
“She would want me to,” he said. “I’m close to my target of £10,000 now, and anything I can do to increase awareness of the hospice and raise as much money as possible – that’s what it’s about.
“The kindness of the people there is not just because it’s their job – it comes from the heart. I’ve been staggered and humbled by what they do.
“And doing this has given me something more positive to focus on.”
Mrs Richards, who was 45, died peacefully at home in Stoford with her husband at her side.
The couple were teenage sweethearts who met when she was at South Wilts School and he was at Bishop Wordsworth’s.
“We were always keen runners and very fit,” said Mr Richards, who manages a group of farms.
“We ran the London Marathon together last year, and crossed the finishing line holding hands. We led a healthy, very outdoorsy lifestyle.
“Pancreatic cancer just creeps up on you, and the first thing you know about it is becoming jaundiced.
“Nicola was still skiing black runs on the Monday, but she started feeling unwell and we decided to come home. We were being told she had a mass on her pancreas on the Friday. The following Tuesday they said it was inoperable.
“When something like this happens you ask yourself: ‘Where did that come from? How can anyone go from nailing the hardest runs on a mountain to struggling to climb stairs in a month?’ “I had a place in the race but Nicola didn’t, and I had been planning to defer it so we could run together again next year.
“I hadn’t done any training, which would normally take three months.
“But one day five weeks ago when she was in the hospice it dawned on me that I could do this. They rely on charitable donations to stay open.”
To donate, go to virginmoneygiving.com/Alistair.and.nicola.richards.