Marathon of a 50th birthday for Eric!

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A CUPAR stroke survivor has marked his 50th birthday by taking part in the Paris Marathon to raise funds for a charity close to his heart.

Eric Thomson, who is principal teacher of biology at Bell Baxter High School, finished the gruelling run in an impressive time of four hours and six minutes.

“The course was very challenging – more so than my previous marathon in Edinburgh,” he said.

”The statistics show this with thousands of runners failing to finish.”

With some 50,000 entrants, the Paris Marathon is one of the world’s largest, ranking alongside New York and London, and this year over 100 nations were represented.

“The start of the race was really quite hectic,” said Eric.

He said it seemed as if the entire world had decided to be in Paris for the day of the event and, running across the square where notorious prison the Bastille once stood, through fireworks and firecrackers, created an electric atmosphere never to be forgotten.

Eric continued: “Paris is a very beautiful city and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, especially running along the Seine past the Eiffel Tower.

“My wife Lesley and my two daughters, Julia and Katie, were cheering me on at La Bastille on two occasions which really helped.

“The French people love their sport and were very vocal and supportive all along the course.

“The Paris Marathon always ends in a state of euphoria, with the satisfaction of a difficult goal achieved.

“I vaguely remember the last few miles of the course – and that is without the wine at 35km – and felt so relieved to see the finish line on the incredibly beautiful Avenue Foch, ending a fantastic journey around a truly remarkable city.”

Eric, who ran in aid of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, suffered a stroke in 2006, which affected his speech and movement down his left side.

He has now fully recovered and along the way has raised over £7000 for the Scottish Stroke Association as well as CHSS.