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Ashton man preparing for last of six World Marathon Majors in memory of dad

Mitesh Dhimar, who has lived in Ashton all his life, will be running the Boston Marathon next April, as his sixth and final of the World Marathon Majors.

The trainee sports therapist began running marathons in memory of his dad, Mahendra Dhimar, who passed away in 2010.

"Before my dad passed away he did a lot for charity," Mitesh said.

"At the time, he was a double legged amputee but this never stopped him from living life. Even with 2 prosthetic legs, which seemed fairly awkward to manage, he had an enthusiasm for life and continued to do his favourite things - including making it to his favourite community centre group each week, traveling around South East Asia and making sure he went made it out for his daily walks, somewhat of an achievement in itself considering Manchester never stops raining.

"The message before he passed was to always help people, to give and to try to contribute towards making a small difference. Enough small wins eventually make a huge impact and I felt it was really important to carry that message on, for his legacy more than anything."

Mitesh will be running next year's marathon for The Stepping Strong Centre for Trauma Innovation, a charity set up by Gillian Reny, a survivor of the Boston Bombing.

The charity invests in technologies that help amputees control their prosthetic limbs.

Mitesh said: "The stuff this charity does is incredible, I chose it as my father had lost both legs and was therefore a double-legged amputee following a long battle with diabetes.

"It just felt fitting that I pick this charity for him, every charity I've ran for has been linked to my dad in some way and that's been really important for me; for example, a previous one I did was The Heart Foundation as he died of a heart attack, he also did a lot for the homeless so I ran for Shelter one year and in New York I ran for a charity based in my father's hometown on Jinja, East Africa."

Not long after his father passed, Mitesh sent off a 'speculative application' for the London Marathon, his thought process being 'it's home soil, how hard can it be?'.

He laughed as he reminisced that he hadn't trained, merely turning up on the day and completing the run.

"I was a young, naive lad in a crab outfit just wanting to raise a bit of money for charity," he said.

"At the time, people said to me 'why don't you do it in fancy dress' and so that's why I did that, in a 'jokey' sort of way at first I suppose.

"The first time I wore the outfit was on the day of the marathon and it took me around seven hours to complete it in that, I do slightly regret not wearing it beforehand and practicing but it was fun and I did finish it so still quite a proud moment."

Fast forward a decade and with four further marathons ticked off, Mitesh expressed his happiness at being accepted to run in Boston.

"It's filled me with immense pride and I feel so privileged to run for such an amazing cause."

He continued: "You should be putting in mileage up to around 20 miles and your diet involved too - I eat a lot of chips and burgers I won't lie. I've winged it for the majority of the races but, in hindsight, that's not the greatest thing to do so for this one I feel that I'm a bit more focused on prepping more and getting a better time."

The 37-year-old described the 'strong' emotional feelings you're overcome by at the end of each race, after partaking in a long, rigorous process while knowing you're making a difference to people's lives.

"Just thinking about what that money will do when you cross the finish line, it's a great feeling," he said.

As a final point, Mitesh wanted to emphasize 'just how dangerous' diabetes can be. He said with his dad being diabetic, and his condition being the reason for him losing his legs, the main message he wanted to highlight is for people to be 'more mindful and educated' on what the condition can lead to.

If you would like to donate money to The Stepping Strong Centre for Mitesh's upcoming marathon, a GoFundMe can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/the-gillian-reny-stepping-strong-centre.



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