Man whose London Marathon dream became ‘nightmare’ after collapse set to return


A man who collapsed near the 25-mile mark at the 2021 London Marathon is set to return in 2023 to raise money for St John Ambulance, whose quick actions he credits with preventing “more lasting damage”.

Keen runner David Blackmore, 36, from King’s Lynn in Norfolk, collapsed with heat stroke in 2021 during his first London Marathon attempt and was unable to finish, saying “my dream turned into a nightmare so close to the end”.

However, he is set to return when the race – which he said he “grew up watching” and “always wanted to do” – returns on April 23, adding the incident in 2021 has “only had a positive impact”.

Man posing with medal
David Blackmore taking part in the Atlanta Marathon (David Blackmore/PA)

“The only thing that I can remember… was a feeling that my head was made of lead and really heavy, and me justifying to myself that actually I could just run for the next three miles, four miles with my hands holding up my head.

“From what the St John Ambulance people have told me, (I was) displaying all the symptoms of heat stroke/heat exhaustion, which is being dazed and confused.

“They said to me, ‘Look, if you want to walk it… you could’ because I only had a mile and a bit to go. But in all honesty, when I had my phone back, I couldn’t work out how to use my phone – where your brain would normally just do things naturally, suddenly, it was having to try and think about what actually you need to do.

“I was just like ‘No, my run is run and I’ll just have to come back again’.”

Man with medal in his mouth
David Blackmore with a medal from the Great North Run (David Blackmore/PA)

Now he is raising money for St John Ambulance, saying it “made perfect sense” to do so “to say thank you”, and towards the end of March he passed his £2,000 target.

Man posing with medal
David Blackmore has taken part in the Milton Keynes 20-miler (David Blackmore/PA)

“If I’d been left where I was, and hadn’t been treated, it would have led to being hospitalised and you just don’t know how your body’s going to react when it is just that hot and it’s lost the ability to cool itself.

“All I’ve been told from them is that they had to kind of manufacture some kind of tarpaulin stretcher, because I just wasn’t in a position to be able to walk. They had to manufacture something and be a bit creative to actually carry me back to the tent.

“Sometimes it sounds a little bit overdramatic to say that they saved my life, but if they hadn’t acted in the way they did, as quickly as they did, it definitely could have led to more lasting damage.”

Man holding star shaped medal to the camera
David Blackmore posing with his medal from the Vienna Marathon (David Blackmore/PA)

“First and foremost, I really just want to complete it,” he said.

“When I watched it as a kid I was always looking at those people that were running down the Mall at the end, and that atmosphere, and that’s something that I always wanted to have.”

To find out more about Mr Blackmore’s fundraising efforts, visit


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