Matt Campbell: Hundreds of runners finish London Marathon from spot where MasterChef contestant collapsed
‘It’s just a fantastic testament to the human race’
Yesterday, runners turned up in their hundreds to pay tribute to Matt Campbell by completing the last 3.7 miles of the London Marathon route in his memory.
Last Sunday, former MasterChef contestant Matt Campbell sadly passed away in hospital having collapsed while running the London Marathon at 22.5 miles by Tower Hill.
The news of Campbell’s death was heartbreaking and struck a particularly heavy chord within the close knit running community.
Martin Doyle, who had also taken part in the London Marathon, wanted to do something to commemorate Campbell’s life.
He and Matt Dorber, who are both part of a London Marathon training group, conceived the #FinishForMatt hashtag and set up a Facebook group in which they detailed their plans to meet on Sunday at the spot where Campbell collapsed and run the last few miles of the marathon route.
The group was initially created by users of a London Marathon training and support page. The page is overseen by Helen Phillips, otherwise known as The Cheesecake Runner.
On the morning of the “Finish For Matt” event, it was apparent that the social media campaign had grown tremendously.
Hundreds of runners turned up ready to finish the last leg of the marathon that Campbell had been unable to, and Doyle was evidently overwhelmed by the phenomenal turnout on the day.
“We couldn’t have imagined how together people would come and how everyone would unite to support such a great cause,” he told The Independent.
“It’s encouraged and inspired people to go out and run, people who’ve never run before, people who’ve never run that far before, people who’ve got their running shoes out again, and people who’ve run the marathon who are nursing injuries.
“It’s just gone worldwide, it’s incredible.”
As the runners taking part came down The Mall opposite Buckingham Palace to run the last few hundred metres, they were met by a crowd of other participants cheering them on every step of the way.
While the day was filled with celebration and jubilance, it was also extremely heart-rending for all involved.
“It’s probably been the most emotional day since last weekend,” said Doyle, referencing the day that Campbell passed away.
“Everyone’s just been so nice and kind. It’s just a fantastic testament to the human race I suppose and a real positive story for social media.”
The “Finish For Matt” campaign has continued to grow at an astounding rate since it was first launched.
Donations on Campbell’s JustGiving page which he set up to raise money for Brathay Trust in his father's memory, have currently reached a total of more than £319,000, and more than 14,000 people from across the world have pledged on Facebook to run the 3.7 miles for Campbell.
The initiative has touched a wide array of people. A six-year-old boy took part in the organised run yesterday with his mother, while an individual aged 85 years old is a member of the Facebook group.
“It’s just absolutely wonderful that it’s opened up the doors for everybody, to get involved, get out, and get fit,” said Doyle.