‘If I can do it, so can you’ – Hitchin shopkeeper urges others to keep fit after Berlin Marathon achievement

Gurbir Singh Parmar, known as Arnie, completed the Berlin Marathon on Sunday in 4hrs 58mins.

Gurbir Singh Parmar, known as Arnie, completed the Berlin Marathon on Sunday in 4hrs 58mins. - Credit: Archant

A shopkeeper who only took up running 3½ years ago completed his fourth marathon at the weekend – despite having an injured foot.

Gurbir Singh Parmar took on Sunday’s Berlin Marathon, crossing the line in a time of 4hrs 58m 16s.

The 56-year-old from Hitchin had been told by his doctor that swelling inside a bone in his heel will only heal with rest, but Arnie – as he is known – was determined to finish the 26.2-mile challenge in aid of Herts-based national charity Teens Unite Fighting Cancer.

Arnie was spurred on by generous customers at his Parmars Food and Wine shop in Redhill Road who, along with family and friends, helped him raise just under £500.

“I decided not to wear my watch so I didn’t push myself, but I was so happy to finish in under five hours as it was not what I expected,” said Arnie, who is a member of Hitchin Running Club and Archers Gym.

“The atmosphere was really good with lots of bands playing which helped me get round.

“I would like to thank Hitchin Running Club, Archers Gym, and all the members of the local community who have supported me during my training, and their congratulations on Facebook after I finished.”

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The shopkeeper has run the London Marathon for the past two years and has also completed the Toronto course – but he has no plans to stop there.

Arnie has already set his sights on Letchworth’s Standalone 10k on Sunday, before taking on three half marathons – including Stevenage – before December.

“I work seven days a week so if I can do it, anyone can,” he said.

“Whether it’s walking, running, playing a sport or doing an exercise class, it’s so important to keep fit and stay healthy.”

Arnie says he is at his happiest when inspiring others, and has encouraged fellow shopkeepers Rachhpal Bajwa and Gurmehar Singh – both from Stevenage – to take up running. The pair will both be taking part in their first event alongside Arnie at Standalone.

To find out more about Teens Unite Fighting Cancer visit www.teensunitefightingcancer.org

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