Marathon man's extra-special Snowdonia race in memory of Blackpool fan dad

John Ford (second left) alongside his father David and his two brothers
John Ford (second left) alongside his father David and his two brothers

Former Cleveleys resident John Ford will run the Snowdonia Marathon for the 12th successive year this weekend – but the 2018 race will be extra-special.

John, 49, will contest the race on Saturday with his brother David 25 years after their late father, also David, completed the marathon at the age of 55.

David senior was a lifelong Blackpool supporter, who attended the 1953 FA Cup final, and a member of North Fylde Running Club.

Involved in scouting and various Fylde coast community projects, he raised thousands of pounds for many good causes, including Parkinson’s charities – he died of the disease in 2014, aged 75.

David ran the Snowdonia Marathon in 1993 while visiting John, a former Arnold School pupil who has settled in Wales.

John takes up the story: “Dad came over with a few of his clubmates from the North Fylde club. I have very fond memories of that weekend and running the last 10 miles of the race with him.

“ I took up running again in 2006 and joined a local running club. I did the Snowdonia Marathon in 2007 and have done it every year since, finishing in the top 20 on a few occasions. My personal best time is 2hours, 50minutes.

“After hearing about my dad’s death in 2014, the race organiser contacted me and asked if I wanted his race number, 341, for that year’s race.

“The Blackpool Gazette did an article about dad and I that year and the article helped inspire me to a top-10 finish in the race, winning my age category and the Welsh Masters championship in the race.”

John, who was then selected to represent the Welsh Masters, will wear number 342 for this year’s race, enabling brother David to wear 341.

The brothers will also wear specially-made tangerine running vests in honour of their dad’s passionate football allegiance. On the back will be a photo of David with his three sons.

Youngest son Gary, who still lives on the Fylde coast, has gained entry for next year’s London Marathon, which dad David ran on six occasions.