Marathon dad runs in aid of baby unit

Mark Riddell and his twin boys Ethan, left, and Aiden
Mark Riddell and his twin boys Ethan, left, and Aiden

Bringing up prematurely born twins would be enough of a challenge for most parents – but not for Mark Riddell.

The 38-year-old, of Anderson Drive, Kettering, is donning his running shoes to take on the London Marathon this year.

Mr Riddell is raising money for Kettering General Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit as a thank you for the care his nine-month-old sons Ethan and Aiden were given after his wife, Anne-Marie, gave birth eight weeks early.

He said: “As we were having twins we expected them to arrive early, but not as early as they did.

“My memory of the birth is all a bit of a blur but they were quite a low weight, both under four pounds.

“The nurses put them in the incubators straight away which was a bit of a shock, we weren’t expecting it.

“One of the strangest things was seeing my wife in the maternity ward without a baby. The baby unit was a bit of a surreal place to go with all the beeping machines. At one point one of our boys stopped breathing for about 30 seconds and all the alarms were going off. That was scary but the nurses took it in their stride.”

Mr Riddell had already applied to take part in the marathon, which will take place on Sunday, April 22, but had not decided who to raise money for. But spending six weeks visiting his sons in the hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit made up his mind.

He added: “It was like having six weeks of training from the nurses – they helped us with feeding and bathing and would answer any questions we had.

“The doctors would always explain to us everything that was going on.”

Mr Riddell has already raised £650 but is hoping to hit the £1,000 mark.