A dedicated runner from Broxburn has raised a staggering £21,404.84 for children in hospital by running a virtual marathon – on his treadmill.

Graham Bow originally signed up to run the 2020 Edinburgh Marathon to commemorate 10 years since losing his beloved brother Stuart and to raise funds for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC), which supports the work of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP).

At birth, Graham’s brother Stuart was diagnosed with a very rare metabolic disorder, Galactosemia, for which the only treatment is to fully eliminate galactose and lactose from an individual’s diet. He spent many years in and out of the Sick Kids outpatients, where he was helped to carefully manage his diet to live a near normal life, which in those days was a much more difficult task than it is today.

Graham said: “Edinburgh’s Children’s Hospital played a big part in Stuart’s infancy, assisting my parents to understand a condition that at this time was relatively unknown.

“I took on this challenge to give something back in some way and to support not only the children at the hospital but also their families who rely on the care and dedication of the doctors, consultants, nurses and wider support staff.

“I wasn’t sure if the Marathon would go ahead for 2021 and I’d had a couple of emails through from Edinburgh Marathon Festival in the last few weeks encouraging people to tackle virtual events instead, so I thought ‘why not?’.

(l-r) Amy Russell from ECHC with Graham Bow. Graham is Managing Director of Gordon Bow Plant Hire.

“The deadline to participate in the virtual marathon for the 2020 medal was end of January 2021 and with 1 week to go I thought I can still do this. I completed the half marathon challenge on the Monday, then the 5km on Tuesday, then on Thursday I went for and completed the 10km event. by Friday I was exhausted but I knew I had to overcome this to attempt the full marathon so on Saturday I got on the treadmill, started running and the rest is history!

“I’m grateful to my family, colleagues, friends and Gordon Bow Plant Hire who supported me and assisted in raising this fantastic amount.”

ECHC supports and complements the work of the RHCYP to ensure children and young people have a positive hospital experience.

Victoria Buchanan, from ECHC, said: “We are enormously thankful to Graham for taking on this mammoth challenge and for raising such a phenomenal amount for ECHC. Running an outdoor marathon is hard enough, never mind running one on a home treadmill!

“It is the compassion and dedication of supporters like Graham that enables us to continue to support children and young people in hospital and healthcare throughout the duration of the pandemic and beyond.

“We have seen so many fantastic virtual fundraising challenges over the past year and we applaud Graham for his stamina, his strong legs and his even stronger heart.”

For more information on taking on a virtual challenge for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, please visit www.echcharity.org/events