Young man with disabilities undertakes virtual London Marathon

Freddie Latham

Freddie Latham - Credit: Archant

A young St Albans man with a disability is taking on a virtual marathon for charity.

Freddie Latham who has Global Development Delay and a learning disability, is taking on the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon for Mencap to help change attitudes towards learning disabilities.

Freddie, 22, usually runs with his dad Nick as his support runner but lockdown measures meant that he was unable to see his family, as he lives outside the family home in a residential support service, and Freddie and Nick’s training came to a standstill.

Since restrictions have lifted, Freddie has been reunited with his family and his training with dad Nick has got back on track.

On Sunday October 4, he will face his biggest physical challenge yet – a 26.2 miles race in his local area – with his support runner, dad Nick Latham.

Changes to this year’s plans because of COVID-19 mean that runners will be running, jogging or walking a 26.2 miles route of their choice over a period of 24 hours, rather than the original circuit past the capital’s monuments.

Freddie is non-verbal and communicates with a tablet and speech synthesiser. He struggled to find opportunities to get involved in sports when he was younger, but what was initially a running-joke with a support worker turned into much more.

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Freddie had always joked about taking on his local 10k race, but after passing an advert for it to his father Nick one day, his dad called his bluff. Not one to back down from a challenge, Freddie entered the race in October 2017 and hasn’t looked back since.

Freddie is one of 312 Mencap runners – including 10 runners with a learning disability – taking on a virtual 26.2 miles challenge.

Every penny raised by Freddie will go towards funding Mencap’s life-changing programmes, which aim to tackle stigma and help people with a learning disability lead happy and healthy lives.

Freddie said: “We can run marathons and we can compete with others. Every family has a story that needs to be told.”

His dad, Nick, said: “Freddie is often called inspirational. That was one of his favourite words for a while. He appreciates that not everybody can do this, and that it will be quite a feat if he can actually complete a marathon.”