‘I thought I was going to die’ – man completes 100th marathon after beating the odds more than once

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 May 2017

Jerome before and after his weight loss.

Jerome before and after his weight loss.


A man who was held at gunpoint, battled through post-traumatic stress disorder, obesity and cancer has completed his 100th marathon, after ‘changing his life’ for his children.

Jerome Timbrell, from Highbridge, has been on a rollercoaster journey since a life-changing and terrifying experience while he was working in Belgium in 1997.

Valuable computer chips were stored in the warehouse he managed and five masked men with machine guns took him hostage as they looked to get their hands on them.

Jerome, aged 45, said: “There were at least eight moments during the ordeal that I thought it was the end and I was going to die.

“We went into the woods and they told me to get out of the car, I was convinced they were going to kill me, so I refused.

“They stated they would kill me in the car if I didn’t get out. I got out and was instructed to walk away. My overwhelming belief was I was going to be shot in the back.”

But the gunmen drove away and Jerome was left with no physical scars – only emotional ones.

He suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder, which meant he turned to food and excessive drinking to deal with what he had been through.

At 23 stone, and the father of young children, he felt this was the time to turn his life around and underwent gastric bypass surgery before challenging himself to a marathon 10 years after the harrowing ordeal.

Jerome added: “I completed the London marathon in four hours and 43 minutes, and decided this needed to be life-changing.”

He insisted he wanted to run 100 marathons, and trained for the gruelling run across Britain from John O’Groats to Land’s End – but tragedy struck again.

Two weeks before this run, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and required emergency surgery.

He has made a remarkable recovery and earlier this month completed a 100-mile race in Kent in just 23 hours and 24 minutes.

This meant, in miles, he has now completed 100 marathons and his wife Catherine Timbrell said she ‘cannot express’ how proud she is 
of him.

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