Oliver Gavin beats the travel odds to set new personal Marathon record
International sports car driver, Oliver Gavin, of Yardley Hastings, Northamptonshire today completed the Virgin London Marathon in a time of 2 hours 54 minutes and 20 seconds, setting a new personal best time and also helping to raise over £88,000 for the CLIC Sargent children’s cancer charity.
Gavin, 37, spearheaded a team of 14 racing drivers from the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) – persuading many of them to enter the marathon, enthusiastically and regularly encouraging others with training support and advice, and leading the charge in the fund-raising stakes. Amongst other events, Oliver helped to organise a lunch on Friday (24th April) for many motorsport celebrities and supporters, hosted by BBC TV’s Formula One presenter, Jake Humphreys, which raised £35,000 alone – exceeding expectations by more than £20,000.
“I’m so delighted with my time today,” said a sore, but elated, Oliver. “I never thought I’d get under 2:55, so to beat that was the icing on the cake, especially after the week I’ve had. Everyone on the BRDC team has done really well, and a couple of the guys also finished just under three hours which is an amazing effort – especially for Jonny Kane, who was doing his first marathon. I’m thrilled we’ve managed to raise so much money for CLIC Sargent. My time today should now be enough to qualify me for the Boston or New York marathons…if I want to do either of them. My legs need to recover first!”
But, as with a large number of the other 35,000 competitors in today’s 26 mile 385 yard event, it was almost a case of what might not have been. Oliver was racing in California last weekend and, thanks to the emissions of Iceland’s unpronounceable volcano, was faced with the huge logistical challenge of getting home in time to prepare for the marathon, because of the no-fly zone covering the UK.
He flew from Los Angeles to Toronto on Sunday 18th, managed to secure a last minute seat on a flight to Lisbon and arrived back in Europe on Monday. He then made his way to Madrid by air, helped by friend and fellow Corvette Racing driver, Antonio Garcia, and found a flight to Paris on Tuesday 20th. A pre-booked Eurostar passage to London on Wednesday 21st saw him back in the UK and he then had two further train journeys to get him home to Northamptonshire. In all, the trip home took 83 hours including night stops in Spain and France.
For more information on the London Marathon and to donate please visit the team’s JustGiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/BRDC-marathon-legends. CLIC Sargent is a charity that offers an amazing range of support for children who have cancer and for their families. Their work includes providing specialist nurses to provide care during hospital stays and visits; these nurses can also visit the child’s home to provide some treatments. Other than clinical care, they provide a helpline, family care & support, financial support, holidays, play specialists and services for young children. An important arm of their charity is the vital research that is dedicated to improving survival rates, reducing side effects and minimizing the emotional impact of childhood cancer.
A multiple championship winning driver with Corvette Racing in North America, Oliver will next be racing at his home track of Silverstone in Northamptonshire for Round 2 of the FIA GT1 World Championship on the 1st/2nd May. Representing Mad Croc Racing, he will be in a Corvette – racing for honours amongst many of the world’s leading automotive marques.