Running in the family | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - April 2016

Running in the family

Inspired by our research into premature birth, a trio of brothers get set to tackle this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon. We spoke to youngest sibling Will, who persuaded the others to join him.

As this issue of Touching Lives went to press, brothers Will, Ferg and George Bostock were completing their final training runs ahead of pounding the streets of the capital in one of the world’s most famous running events.

It truly is a family affair since the brothers were inspired by the work of George’s wife, Dr Joanna Cook. Supported by Action Medical Research funding awarded in 2014, Dr Cook is looking for a new way to identify expectant mothers who are at risk of having their babies too early.

Ringleader Will, pictured far right, who lives in Cranleigh, Surrey, says: 

“We know how hard she has worked and the impact of the funding she has received from Action Medical Research. The three of us have all got young children and we appreciate that while we’ve been lucky enough to have healthy children, others aren’t so fortunate so we wanted to do what we can.”

Will, 32 and dad to one-year-old Phoebe, completed the London Marathon in 2007 and 2009 and says he had ‘unfinished business with the event’.

Middle brother Ferg, a 34-year-old trainee GP who lives in Exeter, ran the event back in 2003 but this time round has had to combine training with an extremely busy work schedule, a very active two-year-old and sleepless nights with his second, newborn son.

And for eldest brother George, a 36-year-old anaesthetist from Ipswich, running a marathon is a new challenge entirely. The father of two girls is a keen cyclist, supporting Action in the Suffolk Sunrise and last year’s Prudential RideLondon- Surrey 100 – but he hadn’t run since primary school!

“Surprisingly, we’re actually not that competitive between ourselves but I think there’s a general realisation that Ferg – the lighter, fitter and healthier brother – will take the win!” jokes Will. “It’s up to me to put my oldest brother to shame. There’s a potential upset on the cards as I know he’s training really hard.”

Based at Imperial College London, Dr Joanna Cook hopes to develop a simple blood test that could be used very early in pregnancy to identify women who are at high risk of going into labour too soon. These women could then receive extra monitoring and care designed to protect their babies.

We are very grateful for the support of Will, Ferg and George, and all the amazing runners who are raising vital funds for us in this year’s London Marathon.


If you’re interested in taking part in next year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, we’d love to have you in our team. If you prefer a shorter distance we also have places in the Morrisons Great North Run in September and the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October.

And if you choose to take part in any race near you or further afield, whatever the distance, you could use it as an opportunity to raise much-needed money for Action and we can support you in your efforts.

Click this link to find out more about running for Team Action or email


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