Tennis star Andy Murray has spoken of the inspiration he took from meeting 27-year-old epilepsy sufferer Jason Arday who ran 30 marathons in 35 days. Arday, a lecturer from Clapham, helped raise £250,000 for charity by running the marathons despite breaking his leg on the 20th day of the challenge. Last weekend television show Surprise, Surprise organised for Jason to meet his sporting hero Murray.
Afterwards, the US Open champion and Olympic gold medallist spoke of his admiration for Arday, saying: "I met Jason a couple of days ago and spent a bit of time with him. I was speaking to him about his marathons and he told me on the 20th day he fell - he had a fit, a seizure - and he got a hairline fracture in his leg and continued to do it. That was pretty cool speaking to someone like that. He loves tennis, watched the US Open and said he was a huge fan."
Arday, who carried the Olympic torch through Merton, could not speak until he was 11, nor read or write until he was 17. Working as a volunteer in a homeless shelter at Christmas nine years ago, he was inspired to raise money for the Shooting Star Children's Hospice. He admitted after fracturing his leg he considered giving up, but the thought of those who had sponsored him kept him going.
He said: "When I fell over I didn't want to have to pay back thousands of pounds!"
Murray has spoken in the past of his appreciation of runners, citing Mo Farah as an inspiration behind his gold medal in London, and admitted he harbours ambitions to be an Olympic sprinter, saying: "It would be cool to win the 100m at the Olympics and be the fastest man in the world. I never do 100m in training because there's a chance you could pull your hamstring, but I do 400m sometimes.
"The fastest I've done is about 52 seconds, which is reasonable but still a long, long way short of Olympic standard. To give you a bit of context, Mo Farah ran a 52 second lap in the 5000m final, but it was after he'd already run 4600m!"
The Scot will be hoping meeting Jason can motivate him to win his first ATP World Tour Finals trophy which he is currently competing for in London.