MARK BOWEN says he would love nothing more than to head into Sunday’s London Marathon on the back of a Potters victory at the Liberty Stadium.
The City Assistant Manager is gearing up to tack the challenging 26.2 mile trek around the capital in aid of a charity close to his heart, ‘Guide Dogs for the Blind’.
The Welshman, who was born and raised just outside of Swansea, has spent the past few weeks putting the final touches to his preparations for the run, but says the outcome of this weekend’s fixture will undoubtedly have the biggest baring on his state of mind come race day.
“Swansea is my home town, well near enough anyway, and it is always nice to go back there, so I am looking forward to it,” he told Stoke City Player
in the build-up to the encounter.
“We have had some good matches against them over the last few years, which have more often than not been close and entertaining games.
“They are having a tough time of it this season though and that may well add to the tension on Saturday from their point of view.
“Hopefully we can capitalise on that and build on the good performance we produced last weekend which earned us the three points we desperately needed.
“If we win the match down there then I will go into the race in really good spirits, but if it is a negative result then I know I won’t sleep the night before the run, that is just how I am, so I hope to god we manage to get the three points.”
The 53-year-old admits that he has always wanted to participate in what is regarded as one of the most iconic marathons in the world, and says had he not agreed to take part in it this year then the opportunity may well have passed him by.
“It’s something that I have always wanted to do to be honest, so it isn’t something that I have just thrown myself into on a whim,” he added.
“It came about though through my sponsorship of Guide Dogs for Blind, something I have done for three or four years now.
“Myself, my wife and my kids have always had Rottweilers in the family and when we sadly lost Herbie a couple of years back I decided to set up an account and make regular donations to the charity.
“As part of the package they sent me a thank you letter and a puppy that my money would go to and support, and ironically he was called Herbie too, which was a strange coincidence.
“I knew that they were always looking for ways to raise money, just as every charity is, and having always wanted to run a marathon I just thought why not kill two birds with one stone and do the marathon and help raise some funds for a great cause too.
“The gaffer (Mark Hughes) did it when he was about 38 and I knew that if I didn’t do it now, then I would probably never get around to doing it, so I contacted Guide Dogs for the Blind and they accepted me and got me a spot in the marathon.”
He added: “Only time will tell whether it was the best decision or the worst that I have made in my life!"
A plethora of first-team players and backroom staff have already pledged money to Bowen’s cause, and he is asking supporters to dig deep and help raise funds for a hugely worthwhile charity.
Supporters wishing to make a donation, no matter how big or small, can do so by clicking here