Friday 23 August 2019

Brothers aged six and eight to walk London Marathon for the homeless

Alex and Nicholas Harrison from Amersham said the 26.2-mile course will be their ‘biggest adventure’.

By Edd Dracott, Press Association

Two young brothers aged six and eight are going to walk the London Marathon course to help the homeless.

Nicholas Harrison and his younger brother Alex will be taking the 26.2-mile route through London on Saturday April 27, the day before the official race, to raise money for homelessness charity St Mungo’s.

After enjoying adventurous walks with their parents the pair were searching for a new challenge, so their father Tom Harrison, 42, from Amersham, Buckinghamshire, suggested they walk the marathon, with Nicholas suggesting they raise money for the homeless.

Asked why the homelessness cause is so important, he told the Press Association: “They might be thinking people will rob them, they might not have enough money to buy food and then they might not survive and then the whole of the human race might be wiped out.”

The brothers have been training since November, with a 20-mile walk three weeks ago the furthest distance they have tried so far.

“We try and make every walk a bit of an adventure and go somewhere new,” said Nicholas. “The marathon will be our biggest adventure.”

The young hikers are expecting to finish the course in 12 hours, starting at 7am and ending at 7pm.

Alex said he is “happy” about taking on the distance while Nicholas said he is “quite confident and maybe a little nervous”.

“Because it’s really long and it will be hard and dad’s bag might not be big enough to fit enough snacks,” he explained.

Asked what message he hopes to share by completing the challenge, Alex said: “You can always do things if you try your hardest.”

“No matter how small you are you can still achieve things, no matter what other people say,” added Nicholas.

The family have handed out flyers in their home town, posted to their “Little Legs walking a Marathon!” Twitter page and even appeared on BBC Three Counties Radio to promote their efforts, raising £330 of a £1,000 target on their JustGiving page at the time of publication.

The boys illustrated their understanding of the cause they are walking for with an explanation of what St Mungo’s does to help homeless people.

“They have something called no second night out so you don’t have a second night out and St Mungo’s make shelter and food for you,” said Alex.

“And if you struggle with writing and typing on the computer and find it hard getting a job then they will help teach you to learn,” added Nicholas.

“And if you do drugs they might take you to a doctor and he will tell how to use it, how much you want and if you’re using the right drug or not.”

Mr Harrison said the cause is about being “part of a bigger picture in life”.

“The reasons for people being homeless are so wide-ranging and certainly don’t boil down to it’s just that person’s fault,” he said.

“So I think we have a duty to try and help people get people back on the ladder, in housing or work or, ideally, both.”

Asked how they will celebrate crossing the finish line, Alex says he wants to “have lots of food”, while Nicholas said: “I’d like to go to sleep.”

If you would like to support Nicholas and Alex’s cause, visit their JustGiving page entitled “Alex and Nicholas take on the London Marathon Course”.

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