The London Marathon runner who stopped 25 times – to drink wine

Tom Gilbey
Who needs gels when you can drink Gamay? - Tom Gilbey

A runner’s “silly idea” to drink wine after every mile of the London Marathon has proved a good shout after it spurred donations for palliative care.

Tom Gilbey, a 52-year-old vintner known on TikTok as the ‘‘wine guy’’, went viral on social media after he was filmed tasting 25 different wines during the race.

By Wednesday morning, he had raised over £15,900 for Sobell House, “who nursed and cared for my dear Mum in her last few days”.

“It’s my first experience of this going absolutely mad and I feel very honoured,” Mr Gilbey said.

“It’s for a great charity and they’re one of many hospices that just work their socks off to make massive differences.”

As if running a marathon wasn’t difficult enough, the Londoner set himself the challenge of guessing the variety, country of origin and vintage of each of the wines he sampled during the 26-mile run.

“It was hilarious because when you’re overtaken by a fridge and double-humped camel, you could get really depressed unless you knew there was a nice wine around the corner with some friendly faces to support you,” Mr Gillbey said.

Tom Gilbey
Who needs gels when you can drink Gamay? - Tom Gilbey

He said he correctly guessed the vintage, grape variety and country for seven of the wines, could not pick four of them and got the others “a little bit right, a little bit wrong”.

“If they were good, I might swallow it and if they were bad, they went on the road,” Mr Gilbey said.

“I think the pain of the running allowed me to not feel anything other than the urge to finish. I think it’s a great way to stay sober.”

The final drink was a glass of champagne, in celebration of getting across the finish line. Mr Gilbey completed the race in four hours and 41 minutes.

Tom Gilbey
Tom Gilbey

Alexander Munyao won the men’s race with a time of two hours and four minutes. Fellow Kenyan, Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir, beat the women’s-only world record to win in two hours, 16 minutes and 16 seconds.

“I was totally exhausted, totally cooked, but it was just such a great day and the atmosphere is just too fabulous for words so really, it doesn’t really matter how painful it is,” Mr Gilbey said.

He added: “I think in life, sometimes you get a silly idea that resonates but two silly ideas rarely resonate, so I’d encourage everybody to have a silly idea for a good cause and see what happens.”

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