Pendle solicitor's North Korea marathon challenge runs up huge amount for charity

James Robbins presenting his cheque to Jo Applegate, of Pendleside Hospice.
James Robbins presenting his cheque to Jo Applegate, of Pendleside Hospice.
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A Pendle solicitor has raised a staggering amount for Pendleside Hospice after completing a marathon in North Korea.


James Robbins (36), of Barrowford, wanted to do something special in memory of his dad, Bob, who received 'incredible' support from the hospice team before his death in 2017.

James Robbins after completing the Pyongyang Marathon in North Korea

James Robbins after completing the Pyongyang Marathon in North Korea

And so after missing out on a London Marathon place he decided to go a few steps further and sign up for the Pyongyang Marathon.

James, a solicitor at Harrison Drury & Co in Clitheroe, funded the entire trip himself and this week handed over a cheque to the hospice for £10,311.94

"I did not expect anything like that. I was hoping to raise around £2,000 - £3,000. To make it past £10,000 was incredible.

"Obviously, I would like to thank everybody who donated and helped me to reach that target."

James Robbins in Pyongyang taking in the sights

James Robbins in Pyongyang taking in the sights

Approximately 950 foreigners entered this year's race in the North Korean capital, up from 450 in 2018.

James said it was an experience he'd never forget.

"It was a great experience. It was like going to another world, although the country is a lot friendlier and a lot nicer than the news would have you believe.

"The race itself finished in the country's second biggest stadium and there were 50,000 people there cheering us on as we finished which was quite incredible."

James' official time for completing the marathon was 3:30:02. He had been hoping to break the three-and-a-half hour mark but believes he 'took his foot off the gas' during his stadium lap as he soaked up the applause.

The cheque presentation was the first time James had actually been back to the hospice since his dad died.

"It was a strange feeling but it was also nice going back and giving something. The hospice was so good with my dad and I'm glad they were happy with the money. I hope it goes someway towards helping."

James joined forces with RunAway Challenge legend Scott Cunliffe last season for runs to Liverpool and Everton. And while he doesn't currently have any more charity plans in the pipeline, he has tentatively agreed to run with Scott to Norwich away next season.

"What Scott has done is fantastic and I did say I'd possibly join him for another run this season, which could be Norwich...but we'll see."