A policeman who gave lifesaving first aid to victims of the London Bridge terror attack will join thousands of runners fundraising at the London Marathon on Sunday.
Pc Leon McLeod, 31, was one of the first to respond to the attacks in 2017, giving emergency treatment to victims including his British Transport Police colleague Pc Wayne Marques, who was brutally stabbed in the head.
The father of one, who received a Queen’s Gallantry Medal, will run the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise £10,000 for the charity which treated his post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD999.
He joins an amateur field which will also include Dame Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell, who has already raised £100,000 for Dementia Revolution.
Other runners will also embrace the marathon tradition of attempting to break weird world records – including one who hopes to become the fastest to finish dressed as a landmark building.
Pc McLeod said: “This year, I am running the marathon to support PTSD999 because I want to create something positive from the experience.”
Describing how the attack, which killed eight people, unfolded shortly after 10pm on June 3 2017, Pc McLeod said he and Pc Marques had a “standoff” with the terrorists after the alarm was first raised.
“When they ran off, my vision came back to normal and I was aware of casualties,” he said.
Despite the ordeal, Pc McLeod “rushed” himself back to work just two days later as the effects of PTSD took hold.
“Something was different,” he said.
“I just wanted to cry. I couldn’t eat. I would force myself to eat something and then feel sick.
“Now I know I was suffering from anxiety, which I’d never had before. I could sleep for eight hours and my whole body would still feel shattered.”
He began drinking alone and “pushed away” his wife and one-year-old son, before therapy in June last year helped his recovery.
“I’m still a police officer now, which might sound bizarre but I love it,” he said.
“My colleagues were and continue to be hugely supportive.
“Last week it was my birthday, and my son turned three. I took him out and we had a brilliant time together.
“I hope that by raising money for PTSD999, I can help others to share those same amazing moments with their friends and family.”
Forecasters expect a wet and windy start for runners on Sunday before conditions ease to make way for good marathon conditions.
Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: “Conditions are improving for the London Marathon as the time goes on.
“For the very beginning when all the runners are gathering, there could be the odd stray shower around but it should be dry and cloudy.”
He said winds will be coming from the north-westerly direction and will be about 10-15mph.
“We could see some gusts getting up to 20mph but by the time we get to 10-11am, the winds should be easing back a smidge,” he said.
“There will be a fairly brisk breeze but not too windy.
“The winds will be 10mph on average, with occasional gusts of 20-25mph more towards the beginning of the race.”
He said that except for the chance of a shower early on, “it should be dry throughout and remaining cloudy so that’s good news for the runners”.
He added: “Much better running conditions than last year, which was the warmest on record.”
Temperatures will be 12C-13C by the end of the race, he said.