Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 55, ran alongside a runner with learning difficulties as he took part in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon. The annual event was scaled-back due to the coronavirus pandemic with only professional athletes taking part in the organised event through St James’s Park, London.
Other participants were encouraged to run, jog or walk a 26.2-mile route of their own choice over a period of 24 hours, rather than the original circuit past the capital’s monuments.
The Countess of Wessex joined Tomas Cardillo-Zallo, a runner who has learning difficulties, for part of his London Marathon route in support of the UK’s leading learning disability charity Mencap.
Sophie ran alongside Tomas in Windsor Great Park, part of his 26.2-mile route which also saw him run along the River Thames to his home in Kingston-Upon-Thames.
With Sophie’s support, Tomas completed his first-ever marathon, proving what people with a learning disability can achieve with the right help.
READ MORE: Sophie Wessex won over Queen support with ‘very sensitive’ approach
The CEO added: “While Mencap runners didn’t have the race day they expected this year, with the support of The Countess and many others we have made sure that Mencap runners have had the day they deserve.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported Mencap’s runners. Your generosity means we can continue to support people with a learning disability to lead happy and healthy lives – just like anyone else.”
The Royal Family shared tweeted about Sophie’s participation in the marathon and wished runners good luck.
The tweet read: “The Countess of Wessex is wishing you all the best of luck as you embark on the virtual #LondonMarathon challenge tomorrow in support of @mencap_charity. You can do it!”
Sophie is the first working Royal Family member to take part in the London Marathon.
However, non-working royal Princess Beatrice ran the race in 2010.
She took part in a group with Virgin boss Richard Branson, his two children Sam and Holly, and her ex American boyfriend David Clark, among others.
The group were tied together and broke a record for being the most people to finish a marathon while tied together.