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Thousands pledge to run last 3.7 miles of Marathon to honour Matt Campbell

The Guardian logo The Guardian 24/04/2018 Frances Perraudin North of England reporter

Matt Campbell reached the latter stages of MasterChef: The Professionals in 2017 © Social Media Matt Campbell reached the latter stages of MasterChef: The Professionals in 2017 More than 2,000 people have pledged to run 3.7 miles in honour of a chef who collapsed and died that distance from the London Marathon finish line.

Matt Campbell, 29, from Kendal, collapsed at the 22.5-mile mark during Sunday’s event, which took place in record 24.1C (73.3F) temperatures. No cause of death has yet been announced.

By Tuesday afternoon, more than 2,300 people had signed up to run and donate money to the Cumbria-based Brathay Trust, which works with vulnerable young people.

Using the Facebook group “Finish for Matt”, people across the country posted that they had taken part, with some organising to complete the run with others in their home towns.

Campbell, a former MasterChef contestant, was running to raise a target of £2,500 for the Brathay Trust, which was where his father had worked before he died suddenly in 2016.

More than £100,000 has been raised for the charity on Campbell’s Just Giving page, with nearly 7,000 individual donations, despite his initial target being just £2,500.

Matt Campbell (right) posted a photo with fellow Masterchef contestant Tom Peters (left) before the race. Pic: Twitter © Twitter Matt Campbell (right) posted a photo with fellow Masterchef contestant Tom Peters (left) before the race. Pic: Twitter Campbell finished second on BBC Young Chef of the Year when he was 20. After travelling around the world, he returned to the UK and last year made it to the semi-finals of MasterChef: The Professionals. 

“As many of you know, I lost my father Martin 18 months ago suddenly,” he wrote on his fundraising page. “The past year and a half have been the toughest of my life but his spirit and energy live on in me.”

“He was the most inspirational man in my life and was the one who said: ‘Go on, why don’t you give it a go? I know you can do it!’ and entered me into my first marathon,” he went on. “It was maybe the proudest day of my life standing at the finish line having achieved something I never imagined possible with my dad and my brother by my side.”

People from across the restaurant industry paid tribute to Campbell, with Simon Rogan, the head chef at L’Enclume, where Campbell previously worked, saying he had “showed a lot of promise, was always very inquisitive and had a nice touch”.

The London Marathon race director, Hugh Brasher, said his thoughts were with Campbell’s family and friends, but warned against linking the chef’s death to the high temperatures on Sunday. He said there had been 14 deaths in the last 38 London Marathons.

The last death at the race came in 2016, when Afghanistan veteran David Seath had a cardiac arrest three miles short of the finish.

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