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Simon Marathon

Simon to compete in London Marathon for Starlight Foundation

Posted on 23 February, 2023

UM Group’s Head of Molasses (GB) Simon Markham only took up running less than a year ago.

The decision was prompted by a routine health check which revealed that Simon was weighing 108 kilos (17 stone) and thought he should do something about it.

Almost a year on, Simon weighs in around 75 kilos (just over 11 stone), is now an avid runner and is about to take on his second London Marathon to raise vital funds for Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Initially, Simon combined running with cycling, but in more recent times the running has taken over with regular shorter runs in his lunch breaks and longer runs at weekends and holidays.

With the London Marathon now less than two months away (April 23) he is getting race ready clocking up 17 miles last Sunday on a run with the Horsham Joggers.

His personal aim is to complete the race in 4 hours, compared to the 4 hours and 35 minutes for his first marathon in October last year.

Simon, who has worked for UM Group for almost 30 years and in his current role for almost 20 years, said: “The health check-up was a real wake-up call and I decided I needed to shed a bit of timber.

“At first, I combined some cycling with running which was great fun, but this year the focus has been more on the running.

“Outside of the London Marathon, the plan is to run a few other events including 8 and 10k and the Barns Green half marathon in the West Sussex countryside in September.

“I’ve just returned from a holiday with my wife in Jersey and managed to fit in a couple of training runs including running from the capital St Helier, where we were staying, to the north of the island. It’s a lovely location for running.”

Simon, who turns 60 in June and lives close to the Surrey town of Dorking, added: “Running the London Marathon is incredibly inspiring. You hear so many personal stories and I challenge anyone not to have a moment when you think about what some people have been through and why they are running.

“The number of different charities that people raise money for is staggering. You see all the shirts on the starting line and as you run the race.

“I am delighted to be able to support Starlight again this year following on from the success of the UM team in raising over £35,000 for the charity in last year’s marathon. This included generous match-funding from our generous shareholders, W&R Barnett Ltd.

“We were fortunate to meet some of the Starlight team when they came to our office for the presentation. While they are not one of the bigger charities, it was clear that they use any money raised extremely well and make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Simon concluded: “Running has become a massive part of my life, helping me get fit and to feel good about myself. It’s also a great way to clear your head and I’ve often found solutions for work-related matters while out running. I would recommend running to anyone whether they want to run a couple of miles or dream of running a marathon.”

For over 30 years, Starlight has enabled children and families to find hope through the power of play after a child is diagnosed with a serious illness.

Every year, the charity reaches 1.2 million children in almost 500 hospitals across the UK.

If you would like to support Simon, help raise vital money for Starlight and follow his progress leading up to the marathon, go to

Any customers or suppliers who would like to donate in return for having their company logo on Simon’s shirt should contact him direct –

For more information about Starlight, visit

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