We loved creating a one-of-a-kind gift for Ian to commemorate an experience many of us will only dream about - taking part in the New York City Marathon!
Ian won a free entry to the race in 1987 through Running magazine, and though he has completed the London Marathon a staggering 20 times, he still considers the NYC Marathon to be the highlight of his running exploits.
He treasured his finisher’s t-shirt for decades - but when it started to become more hole than shirt, he was encouraged by his wife Julie to finally let it go. We therefore created an alternative memento for him to keep forever.
We had the pleasure of seeing Ian’s finish line photo and a newspaper clipping from October that year that states “For a vicar who as a child had a 'tremendous abhorrence' of physical exercise, the Rev Ian Owers has found his feet in style.” Ian has raised thousands of pounds for various charities after being challenged to run the London Marathon for the first time by another church member.
Our favourite quote from the article is “If he had seen the runners at the 26-mile instead of the 6-mile marker, Mr Owers, aged 41, might have thought twice about the challenge.” Instead he was out jogging the next day - at first only 5 minutes every other day before collapsing with exhaustion, then gradually increasing his mileage to 50 miles a week.
He completed his first marathon in 4.08, and was in shape at New York to hit his first sub 3.30 - however as this was in the days before chip timing, there was a substantial delay before crossing the start line.
Therefore, even though he didn’t get the time he wanted, he still enjoyed the experience of being a part of such an iconic event.
Ian is now in his mid-70s and due to knee surgeries is no longer able to run. He always thinks about running and misses being able to do it, so it is an honour mark such a good memory for him.