A Bury St Edmunds fund-raiser is in the midst of an epic running challenge in memory of a friend who died aged 19 from undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes.
Richard Smith, 32, is halfway through his gruelling schedule of running one big event a month to bring in upto £2,500 for charity Diabetes UK.
He is taking on the fund-raiser in tribute to Robbie Warner, who died suddenly just before his 20th birthday last year.
Mr Smith, who played football with Robbie for Bacton United 89, said: “Robbie lived life to the full and was very sporty and fit - it was such a terrible shock when he died. I wanted to do something to raise awareness of the condition.
“His dad Justin was our (football) manager and I’m still good friends with him. Diabetes is quite present in my family - both my sister Heather and dad Ray are Type 1 and my grandad Eric is Type 2. I also have quite a few friends and colleagues who have it.”
Already he has taken on the 10 mile obstacle race Tough Guy, the Tarpley 20 with St Edmund Pacers and attempted the Suffering Rentless which is three obstacle races in one day. In April he completed his first London Marathon in three hours and 29 minutes followed by the 20 mile obstacle race known as RatRace Dirty Weekender.
Tomorrow (June 18), Mr Smith will tackle RatRace The Wall, which is 69 miles in 26 hours along Hadrian’s Wall.
Next month he will take part in the 26.2 mile RatRace Man vs Lakes across Morecambe Bay sands and the Lake District to Lake Windermere.
His other challenges include Stour Valley Path Ultra Marathon, RatRace Man vs Mountain, Lake Garda Marathon and the Obtacle Course Racing UK Championships.
In December he will run seven marathons in seven days from Dover to Bacton.
Robbie, who lived with his parents and sister in Stowupland, was studying at Northampton University when he passed away last February.
His dad Justin praised Mr Smith’s efforts. He said: “It’s remarkable and we think the world of him. We’re trying to get diabetes on the map because sometimes people are unaware they’ve got it. With Robbie none of us knew and even he didn’t know. He was sporty, fit and full of life - it was a big shock for all of us.”
On July 23, Robbie’s family and friends will hold the second annual memorial day for Robbie at Bacton United 89, in Broad Road. It will include a six-a-side football tournament, barbecue, live music and other entertainment. Last year’s raised £6,000 for Diabetes UK. To sponsor Mr Smith, visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/Running_For_Robbie
Support group reaches out
To mark Diabetes Awareness Week this week, people with the condition are being invited to join a local support group run by volunteers from Diabetes UK.
The free meetings are held bi-monthly on the second monday of the month at All Saints Church, in Park Road, Bury St Edmunds. The next meeting is on Monday, July 11 from 7pm to 8.30pm. Email diabetesgroupStEdmundsbury@gmail.com