Brighton Marathon 2021: Worthing runner gets support from friends to reach finish after hitting the wall

It was the support of family and friends that got Worthing runner Matthew Brunton through the 2021 Brighton Marathon, and the thought of the close pal he was running for.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 11:20 am

Matthew is raising money for Love Your Hospital, with the aim of supporting the Donald Wilson House rehabilitation centre at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.

He is close to reaching £2,000 as a thank you for the help the centre has given his friend Natalie, who suffered a stroke at the age of 35 and survived against all the odds.

Matthew said: “I managed to complete my marathon in four hours 27 minutes. It was really tough. I hit the wall, as they call it, around the 20-mile point.

Matthew Brunton and his wife Maria at the Brighton Marathon 2021

“With Natalie in mind, I carried on to the finish. Thankfully, one of our friends, Jeff Foster, was supporting me along the beach and ran with me for a bit just before the finish.

“I was very grateful for all the support from my wife, family and friends with this whole event, along with my boss at Gardner and Scardifield, Nathan Gale, who trained me.”

The maraton was on his sixth wedding anniversary and his wife Maria Brunton was there to support Matthew.

She said: “Natalie has nearly recovered but is still struggling with aphasia. She knows exactly what to say and understands everything but is having difficulty getting the words to come out.

Matthew Brunton and his wife Maria, left, with Natalie and her partner Richard at Wax Cactus in Worthing for the fundraising open mic night

“The specialists have done an amazing job looking after her, particularly with her ongoing speech therapy.”

Matthew and Maria were able to see Natalie for the first time since her stroke at an open mic organised at Wax Cactus in Worthing on September 17 to boost his fundraising.

He said: “She has done fantastic, she seems to be progressing really well. We managed to raise around £250 on that evening, which brings the total so far to £1,896. I’m so grateful for everyone’s kind donations and support for this cause.

“Thanks to Natalie’s close friends Tim Lord and Naomi Rae for putting on the open mic, along with all the people who took part.”

Matthew is already looking ahead to Brighton 2022 when he hopes to run again.

Matthew, an experienced runner, started training for his first marathon in September 2019, then finished a San Diego 10k in the top ten in March 2020, less than 24 hours after landing in California to celebrate his wife Maria’s birthday.

With a place in the Brighton Marathon for April 2020, he was fired up for a fast finish. But then Covid struck and the race was pushed to September 2020.

After that second date was also cancelled, Matthew, desperate to run his first marathon, raced at Running GP, an organised event at Goodwood Motor Circuit on September 27 last year and he did it in 3 hours 50 minutes.