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Christopher Eccleston opens up on 'emotional' London Marathon race: 'This has been the hardest run'

Christopher Eccleston ran 26.2 miles – then spoke to the Big Issue about his epic London Marathon fundraising effort

Christopher Eccleston shows his medal after completing the 2024 London Marathon.

Christopher Eccleston shows off his medal after completing the 2024 London Marathon for The Big Issue ©TCS London Marathon

Christopher Eccleston paid tribute to the hundreds of supporters who have sponsored him after completing the London Marathon this weekend. The actor has raised a huge sum for the Big Issue – and there is still time to sponsor him.

“I get so emotional when people sponsor me,” he said. “I’ve looked at the sponsorship page every day.

All smiles at seven miles. Christopher Eccleston running The London Marathon. Image: The Big Issue / Adrian Lobb

“I want to thank you all personally. Some people put in incredible amounts of money and some people put in just what they can afford – and everything is equal. It’s really emotional.”

Eccleston, who is a Big Issue ambassador as well as the celebrated star of The A Word, Our Friends In the North, Hillsborough, Doctor Who and True Detective, spoke of his joy at the fundraising effort immediately after crossing the finish line.

“It’s what gets you around is the sponsorship,” he said. “We are trying to get people off the streets. We’re trying to get a roof over their head and we’re trying to lift them out of poverty. So thank you very much to all of you.”

Christopher Eccleston, who turned 60 in February, completed the London Marathon course in a time of five hours, 21 minutes and 50 seconds, following a heroic effort – and despite suffering with sore legs for more than half of the race.

“I did find this quite tough. This has been the hardest run. But I just kept thinking about the responses,” he added.

During the run, his fundraising total passed £10,000 and his heartfelt messages filmed during the race and shared on Instagram have seen the tally rise to more than £12,000. There have, to date, been more than 530 sponsors.

“It has been very, very moving what people have done. Some people have only been able to afford a pound – we’re in such tough times – but they’ve done it.

“So it means everything to us all at the Big Issue that people did that. And it shows, I think, that the nation recognises that we’ve seen people on the street and they don’t like it. I’m really grateful. That’s what got me through it.”

Christopher Eccleston in his Big Issue running kit at the London Marathon
Christopher Eccleston poses in his Big Issue kit before the 2024 London Marathon. Image: ©TCS London Marathon

The support on his sponsorship page was matched by the support Eccleston felt on the course, as he ran around in his Big Issue kit. And the actor was met at the finish line by his children, Esme and Albert, who cheered him down the home straight.

“I got lots of shout outs for Big Issue and lots of people shouting my name,” he said.

“It was great. And when I saw my kids near the finish line? That’s the best thing. My son Albert was there and my daughter Esme. I saw them twice – I saw them at one mile, I saw them at about eight miles, and I saw them right at the finish. They are the world to me.”

Despite suffering for more than half the race, Eccleston even vowed to return to the marathon… and run it faster in 2025.

“During that last mile I kept thinking ‘I can’t wait for this to stop,’” he said.

“I was worried that my legs were actually going to seize up and I’ve never had that in a marathon before. I felt like they were going. My breathing was fine, and mentally I was fine. But to be conscious of heavy legs from 11 miles in is tough.

“So if I do it next year, I need to train better. I want to run it faster next year because I am competitive.

“I’m really proud to run for the Big Issue. I am an ambassador and I have been for a few years. It’s something that’s very important to me. So we should make a whole team of fundraisers. And I will be team captain!”

Sponsor Christopher Eccleston for his London Marathon effort and watch him thank his supporters in a personal video message below.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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