A MARATHON man who raised more than £300,000 in memory of his wife returned to Rome 10 years after his fundraising feat with family and friends to boost his total even higher.

Rob Drury-Dryden joined 50 of his nearest and dearest a decade ago to take part in the Rome Marathon for Prospect Hospice and MacMillan Cancer Care as a way of thanking the teams of nurses who provided comfort and care for his wife Sophie during her final days.

After organising a big charity challenge every year since then, the 48-year-old went back to where it all began with 22 supporters to run through Rome one more time and honour Sophie’s Legacy. His return run has already raised more than £11,000.

Rob said: “It was very moving to be back there, though it was hard because our bodies are crumbling a bit now that we’re older. I finished only three minutes slower than last time, so I was delighted, although both times I crossed the finish line almost collapsing in terrible pain. Walking since Sunday has been a bit tough.

“It’s great that so many of the people supported the runners, many friends and family travelled to Rome to cheer us on as they did 10 years ago.

One dedicated friend, physiotherapist Russel Kesley, cycled 1,500 miles from the UK to Rome over seven days by himself to be there. I know that Sophie would have been very proud of us."

Rob and Sophie were married for almost a decade and made many priceless happy memories together before she died in 2008.

Rob added: “One of Sophie’s fears was that her short life would be forgotten and become insignificant, but through this legacy she has inspired a huge number of people to change the way they approach their lives and raise an extraordinary amount of money to help Prospect patients.

"Fitness mattered hugely to Sophie and she wanted a legacy. I think she would find it funny what we have done in her memory, but would be pleased to see we are still inspired by her a full decade later to raise money in her name for great causes. "

“She was amazing, vivacious, sporty and highly intelligent. She lived life to the full, always wanted to challenge herself and didn’t want to waste a single minute, especially after the cancer diagnosis. She did a 10km run after finishing a round of chemotherapy treatment and loved surfing and skiing.

“Rome was like a homecoming, it’s been a remarkable journey and this felt like a final hurrah because it’s come full circle. I’ll still support Prospect but I won’t do big events like this again”

Both charities supported by Sophie's Legacy were grateful for the dedication of Rob and his loved ones.

Prospect Hospice’s events and community manager Amy Francombe said: “What Rob and everyone associated with Sophie’s Legacy have achieved has been incredible and made a real difference to the experiences of patients and their families we have supported over the last ten years. We are hugely appreciative of all their support for us.”

“It’s successful challenge participants like Rob and his group who have encouraged us to offer more running events and overseas challenges to our supporters. We would love for people who have been inspired by Rob’s story to get in touch as there are lots of exciting events and challenges in our calendar that you can sign up for, details of which are on our website.’”

To donate, visit mydonate.bt.com/events/returntorome or email fundraisingandevents@prospect-hospice.net for more information.