A WIGAN marathon man putting himself through a Herculean athletics challenge in memory of his nephew has been selected to carry the Paralympic Torch.
Noel Bresland, of Spencer Road in Whitley, will take part in the relay which will bring the torch across London to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford to mark the beginning of the world’s biggest festival of disability sport.
He will be one of hundreds of chosen torch-bearers who will take the mirrored torch across London in a spectacular 24-hour journey to the stadium.
Noel, who works as a management consultant for Deloitte, was nominated to take part in the relay as he is running an extraordinary 223 marathons in memory of nephew Ethan Perry, who was born prematurely and passed away after 223 days.
His quest to run a marathon for every day of Ethan’s life saw him gain national attention last year when he ran the 26 miles 385 yards of the marathon distance on a treadmill inside a capsule of the London Eye.
Noel, 36, said: “I was actually nominated twice, once by Deloitte as the company get to pick several torch-bearers and again through the public ballot.
“It’s a great honour to have been chosen, but it also sometimes feels a little strange because I’m running for such a personal reason.
“But it also feels amazing and my kids and family are all so excited about it.”
Although the final details of the Paralympic Relay are being kept under wraps, Games organisers LOCOG have revealed the event will be very different to the Olympic Torch relay currently winding its way around the country.
Four flames will set out from the four UK capitals before converging at Stoke Mandeville, where the international Paralympic movement was founded.
From there teams of torch-bearers will take a single torch across the capital, in a continuous journey running day and night, for the opening ceremony of the Games.
Noel said: “I think they’re trying not to give too many details away because it might get lost in the build-up to the Olympic Games, so I’m not sure yet where exactly I’m going to be running. I think I’ll probably be told about three weeks before the relay, because that’s how far in advance the Olympic torch-bearers got to find out where they would be running.”
Once his Paralympic duties are completed, Noel is looking forward to getting back to his marathon challenge, as injury has prevented him running for the past six months.
He still has 180 events to go, and hopes the public will help him pick some suitably eye-catching places to run.
He said: “I was supposed to be doing a marathon on top of the O2 Arena in London, but that’s had to be postponed until I’m fit.
“I’ve got a few other ideas which I’m working on, but if any Wiganers have any ideas for obscure or strange places I could run, I’d love to hear from them.”
For more information, visit www.justgiving.com/noel-bresland-223-marathon-challenge.