When Jeremy Joseph completed his fourth London Marathon last weekend, another milestone was also achieved as donations to the Elton John AIDS Foundation crossed the £200,000 mark. Now, he has set his sights on the next challenge, the military-like assault course ‘Tough Mudder’! Chris Jepson chatted to him before Sunday’s run to find out exactly why Mr Joseph wants to kill himself for charity…
Unless you live under a rock, it can’t have escaped your notice that last weekend was the 33rd London Marathon where 34,278 people completed the 26.2 mile course around the river Thames. One of those people was G-A-Y’s head honcho Jeremy Joseph. As I met up with him at 8am at the ‘Green Start’ on Blackheath the morning of the race, the sky was blue and the sun was warming the chill out of the air.
I’ve been with him on every marathon, but this year Jeremy seemed more nervous than usual. “Strangely, I was more nervous this year,” Jeremy confesses. “I can’t explain why, but even had a couple of panic attacks. It doesn’t matter how much you train, you can get an injury at anytime during a run, and like in pop music, you are only as big as your last hit, so it’s not about the marathons you’ve achieved, it’s all about this one.”
We caught up again as we gathered at G-A-Y Bar for a congratulatory drink after he finished the race in his best time yet. “It was a very mixed emotion run, starting with the silence for Boston, which was really poignant. The whole week leading up to the marathon after those shocking events just brought home how quick life can change. The run itself is strange, it’s incredible, it’s painful, it’s frightening, you start off excited and then as the run starts it’s that daunting feeling of 26 miles to go.
“After a few miles I started thinking I’m never doing this again. What really helps are friends on the route supporting you. Every time you want to give up, someone shouts out support and that gives you the lift to carry on. This year was my best time, 4 hours 21 mins, not bad for the kid at school that never got picked for any sports teams!”
It was a brilliant day, and as I stood waiting for Jeremy at the finish line scanning the faces coming across, it’s an amazing emotional rollercoaster. People either collapsed and were carried away as they had literally given their all, or they jumped up and punched the air in celebration. There is absolutely nothing like it. One minute you have jaw ache from grinning so much, the next tears in your eyes and heartbreak as someone’s legs fail just 10 metres from the line.
From the lows of Boston where no one could have imagined that anyone would attack an event that raises money for charity, to the highs of breaking the £200,000 mark for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, 2013 will definitely be a year to remember.
Not content with punishing just his body, Jeremy has decided to share the pain and has entered Team G-A-Y in the Tough Mudder. Designed by British Special Forces, Tough Mudder is an endurance 12 mile military-style obstacle course testing mental as well as physical strength with obstacles playing off common human fears like fire, water and heights.
“I wanted to do something that was a team challenge rather than solo like the Marathon and to be honest I don’t know what to expect. I haven’t trained at all, I hate the gym and I’m doing it with four gym obsessed guys, including QX’s beloved Editor Cliff who usually writes this mag doing press ups and drinking a protein shake! It’s a 12 mile course, so my four team mates can carry me three miles each, but how difficult can it be to crawl through mud under barbed wire while being electrocuted?
“If you want to come, come and watch me die. And for those who hate me and want to dance on my grave I’m being buried at sea!”
• To see what Team G-A-Y have signed themselves up for check out www.toughmudder.co.uk
• And also, please show your support and donate to the Elton John AIDS Foundation at www.justgiving.com/G-A-Y – let’s get to £250,000!