Nottingham Forest fan with MND will take on the marathon

  • By Natalie Jackson and Dan Martin
  • Sports presenter, BBC East Midlands Today


Chrissie Wellington will push Mr. Perkins in his wheelchair

A Nottingham Forest fan with terminal illness and motor neurone disease (MND) will take part in the London Marathon.

Sam Perkins, 41, will address the event in the capital in April.

Mr. Perkins, who will be pushed in his wheelchair by four-time Ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington and a support team, believes he is one of the few people with a fan to compete in the marathon.

So far, more than £4,000 has been pledged to a charity he co-founded.

Perkins, from East Leake, near Loughborough, is one of 10 people who have been awarded a place as an assisted competitor in the 2023 race.

He will be pushed by a team of four, including Ms. Wellington, as she has lost all movement and needs a ventilator to continue breathing.

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‘I won’t let MND stop me from doing what I love’

He said: “Being away from home, effectively on a life support team, comes with risks, but it’s a matter of determination and positivity.

“To the best of our knowledge, I am the first person to attempt an assisted marathon while completely dependent on a ventilator.

“I’m going to try, but it could be a disaster in the end.”

Mr. Perkins, a project manager, was diagnosed with a severe degenerative condition affecting the nerves in the brain and spinal cord in 2019.

Since then it has raised over £130,000 for research into healing MND and the causes of palliative care.


Sam, pictured here with his parents, believes he is the first person to rely on a fan to participate in the event.

Ms Wellington said: “He (Sam) is absolutely inspiring.

“It’s an honor to be part of a team that allows Sam to realize a dream.”

A spokesperson for Stand Against MND, the charity Mr Perkins co-founded, said: “Sam sets an exceptionally high standard of commitment and dedication both to raising awareness of motor neurone disease and to funding research for a cure and palliative care.

“The Challenge is another stellar example of Sam pushing the limits of what can be achieved, despite living with such a debilitating and aggressive disease.

“We are proud to have him as our inspirational figurehead and excited to support him and the team on race day.”


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