THE OWNER of Franco’s restaurant in Wigan is lacing up his trainers for the London Marathon in aid of Wigan and Leigh Hospice.
Franco Spinelli, 54, who owns the 140-seater Rodney Street eatery is taking on the 26.2-mile challenge on Sunday, April 26th after securing a Golden Bond place through the hospice, which cares for local people with progressive, life-limiting illnesses.
Smashing his target
Months ahead of the event he has already smashed his £1,200 target and had raised over £1,850 at the time of writing.
Keen runner Franco, a member of Wigan Harriers running club, said: “I race every Sunday and have raced in every city in England. I did the Manchester Marathon last year but this will be the first time I’ve done the London Marathon. I’m training five days a week and aiming to do it in under five hours.
“I always fancied doing the London Marathon and I wanted to do it for a local charity because I live in Wigan. Everybody keeps putting money in the bucket I have by the bar – I have a lot of support. There are a lot of charities but we have a lot of customers who mention Wigan and Leigh Hospice and I know there are lots of people who have been helped by the hospice.”
Franco started running at 50 years old and quickly developed a love of the sport. Sicilian-born Franco estimates he has several hundred medals as he takes part in at least a race a week. His goal is to have amassed 1,000 medals by the time he is 65 years old.
He races every Sunday and has raced abroad in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Thailand. His favourite race is the London Landmarks Half Marathon followed by the Great North Run.
Franco’s restaurant has been established in Wigan for 19 years.
Christine Edwardson, Community Fundraiser at the hospice, said: “Franco’s commitment to running is amazing and we’re delighted he’s chosen to support local people who need hospice care.
“His fundraising has skyrocketed and we’re very grateful to him for taking on this challenge and to everyone who has supported Franco.”