Twenty-two London Marathons is amazing, frankly! | Action Medical Research

Twenty-two London Marathons is amazing, frankly!

13 April 2011

York’s Frank Holden will be running his 22nd consecutive London Marathon for children’s charity Action Medical Research this Sunday (17 April).

The 67-year-old, who lives in Heslington and is a member of the York Knavesmire Harriers club, first caught the running bug in the 1980s. He ran his first London event for the charity in 1989 on a gold bond place and at the post-race reception met some of the doctors and scientists being funded by Action Medical Research. He was so impressed with their work he has been running for the charity ever since.

Celebrating his 68th birthday next week, Frank shows no signs of slowing down. He has run the race several times on his birthday and next year’s event will once again fall on his special day, 22 April.

It’s a family affair, too. Frank’s two daughters, two sons-in-law and wife Dorothy have all at some point taken part in the marathon with him. Indeed, some his fondest marathons memories are of standing on the starting line with family members. He was also once interviewed by former Olympic athlete Sally Gunnell when running alongside Action Medical Research mascot Paddington Bear, who cheekily asked if she might “put some hurdles in next year’s event!”

Frank, who trains all year round, whatever the weather, says: “I just love running. There’s a tremendous fellowship to it. The London Marathon is a wonderful event; it’s just a lovely day. The atmosphere and the energy are amazing. When I first heard about the work Action was funding I was enthralled and decided to continue to support them through running. I still love being part of the charity.”

Action Medical Research funds vital research to help sick or disabled babies and children. Projects currently being supported by the charity include work around meningitis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and premature birth, as well as some very rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.

Frank not only runs himself but every year he also recruits and trains people to run for Action Medical Research in the BUPA Great North Run. His ‘A-team’ includes Dorothy, and long-term friends Gillian and David Gill, Ken Tinker and Martin Medlar. Together they put novice runners through their paces and support them as they take on their first running events.  

The ‘A-team’ are currently recruiting people to join their York training group for this year’s BUPA Great North Run on 18 September. The group meets on Mondays and Thursdays. Contact Frank on 01904 415142 for more details.To sponsor Frank’s marathon efforts please visit

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Accompanying photo shows Frank Holden with daughter Rachael Thompson and son-in-law Mike Thompson as Paddington Bear at 2004’s London Marathon.

For further information please contact:

Clare Airey, Senior Press & PR Officer

T 01403 327480

Action Medical Research is the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children. We know that medical research can save and change children’s lives. For nearly 60 years we have been instrumental in significant medical breakthroughs, including the development of the UK polio vaccine and ultrasound scanning in pregnancy.

Today, we continue to find and fund the very best medical research to help stop the suffering of babies and children caused by disease and disability. We want to make a difference in:

- tackling premature birth and treating sick and vulnerable babies
- helping children affected by disability, disabling conditions and infections
- targeting rare diseases that together severely affect many forgotten children.

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