Leading British racing driver, James Thompson, 29, is set to take on a completely different challenge when he competes in this year's London Marathon (April 18).
The former Green Flag British Touring Car champion will run the 26-mile race to raise money for his chosen charity, Marie Curie Cancer Care. James chose the charity because of the help his family received from Marie Curie when his father David died of cancer last year.Joining James on the run will be John Morton, a race engineer from his team, VX Racing, whose father also suffered and finally succumbed to cancer.
Thompson commented: "When my father was ill last year, the help that the Marie Curie nursing staff gave our family was invaluable.The touring car race calendar often clashes with the London Marathon but not this year and that's why John and I decided to try and give something back to this fantastic charity that helps so many people."
James, who was runner-up in last year's Green Flag British Touring Car Championship, is no stranger to long distance running as he donned his running shoes in 2001 after his girlfriend's father's running partner had to pull out of the Marathon at the last minute.Even with only a few weeks to train, James finished in a very respectful time of 3hrs and 27 minutes ? a time he hopes to improve on this year.
As a top racing driver, Yorkshire and London-based James needs to maintain an intensive fitness regime to cope with the rigours of the six-month touring car season. However, James' training programme has not run particularly smoothly so far getting a bout of food poisoning whilst testing recently and then coming down with a chest infection on his return!He is back to full strength now and counting down the days until he, and thousands of others, take part in one of the world's most famous races.
James gets behind the wheel of his Vauxhall Astra in April when the first race of the Green Flag BTCC takes place at Thruxton in Hampshire the weekend before the marathon, and James will be looking to start this year's title challenge off with a win.Title sponsor, Green Flag Motoring Assistance, will be backing James all the way on this 26-mile race and have already donated £500 to the Marie Curie Cancer Charity.
The 30-round Green Flag BTCC visits all the UK's top circuits and James will be competing with all the top names including team mate and 2003 champion, Yvan Muller, and 2001 champion Jason Plato who returns after a couple of years' absence.
Nick Page, Green Flag's sponsorship manager, commented: "It's fantastic that James is competing in this year's marathon and we are happy to help him to raise money for this worthy cause.We hope that he will not only be successful with his feet but also that he has a fantastic racing season."
The BTCC's youngest ever race winner back in 1995, gritty Yorkshireman James Thompson finally lifted the title in 2002 when he kept his head in a tense finale.He has also dovetailed his racing with sporadic forays in the British Rally Championship. Anyone wanting to help James raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care can donate money at: www.justgiving.com/thommo or send a cheque (made payable to Marie Curie Cancer Care) to 89 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7TP or to make a telephone donation, call 0800 716 416.