A Kinross man is preparing for his “biggest challenge yet” after shedding four stones in weight.
Mark Cathro, 23, will run the London Marathon next month, despite also overcoming ankle surgery and having just 95 days to train.
He hopes to raise £3,000 for Diabetes UK after his sister Emma was diagnosed with Type 1 when she was just eight.
She is now 21 and studying at Aberdeen University, but condition has been a significant part of her life for years.
This is Mark’s fifth fundraiser in four years, having already raised around £7,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, the Samaritans and Cancer Research UK.
Towards the end of 2019, Mark suffered an ankle injury which required surgery.
He had the operation to repair ligament and cartilage damage just last year. He also put on “a fair amount of weight” during the pandemic.
But now fully recovered from his surgery and an incredible four stones lighter, he says he is ready for his “biggest challenge yet”.
He said: “My fundraisers always revolved around those close to me.
“When people you love have been affected by cancer, mental health issues, or even diabetes, unfortunately, sometimes there’s nothing you can do.
“Through fundraising, even though it might only be a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things, everything truly counts.
“Emma has always asked me why I never chose to fundraise for Diabetes UK before now but I always wanted to save it for something big like the London Marathon.”
He added: “When she was first diagnosed, my sister’s daily life totally changed. Every day she had to do finger pricks to check her blood sugar before every meal and give herself an injection of insulin.
“On a normal day, she would have to do at least four insulin injections and around four to eight finger tests. It only took her a month to be able to do this all on her own, which is a lot of responsibility for an eight year old.”
Technological advances meant that Emma now has to do fewer finger tests and, last year, she began using the Freestyle Libre 2 Flash Glucose Sensor.
This links to her phone and can alert her if her blood sugar levels rise or drop to an unsafe level.
Mark added: “As Emma says, sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days.”
95 days to train
But Mark had less time than expected to train for such a huge challenge.
He initially applied to run the London Marathon around a year ago but heard nothing back.
But in June, organisers contacted him to inform him of cancellations and to ask if he was still interested.
His place was confirmed on June 30, giving him 95 days to train.
Mark said: “The longest distance I had run until that date was a half marathon, which I had only run once.
“95 days for a non-runner to run the London Marathon – easy.”
Donations can be made to Mark’s fundraiser on his JustGiving page.