Yesterday, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex joined Tomas Cardillo-Zallo, a runner who has a learning disability, to run part of his 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon route in support of the UK’s leading learning disability charity Mencap.
Her Royal Highness, who has been Patron of Mencap since 2004, ran 1.5 miles with Tomas to represent the 1.5 million people in the UK with a learning disability and help raise awareness of the charity’s cause to change attitudes for the better.
Tomas ran the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon in support of the official charity Mencap, which was chosen by Virgin Money colleagues as the company’s charity partner of the year. Tomas is one of 312 Mencap runners – including 10 runners with a learning disability – who completed the 26.2 miles challenge.
Changes to this year’s plans because of COVID-19 meant that runners ran, jogged or walked a 26.2-miles route of their own choice over a period of 24 hours, rather than the original circuit past the capital’s monuments. Only elite runners took part in this year’s organised event through St. James’s Park in London.
The Countess ran alongside Tomas in Windsor Great Park, which was part of his 26.2-miles route which also saw him run along the River Thames to his home in Kingston-Upon-Thames.
With the support of The Countess and a relay of family members, Tomas completed his first ever marathon to show what people with a learning disability can achieve with the right support.
Every penny raised by Tomas will go towards funding Mencap’s life-changing programmes, which aim to tackle stigma and help people with a learning disability lead happy and healthy lives.
To support Tomas and Mencap’s nine other runners with a learning disability, please visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MencapRunningSquad
Speaking about joining Tomas for part of his 2020 London Marathon route, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, said: “It was an honour to join Tomas even just for a small part of his triumph today, as he completes the virtual London Marathon in support of Mencap. Tomas has shown what people with a learning disability can achieve with the right support. He is an inspiration!”