Marathon man Conor Shoemark to pound Chester streets before Uttoxeter ride
The days of jockeys warming up for a ride with a cigarette and stint in the sauna are fading fast as exercise bikes and yoga mats become a familiar sight in weighing rooms, but Conor Shoemark has taken things a step further in preparation for his ride at Uttoxeter on Sunday – by running a marathon.
Shoemark, who regularly rides out for Dan Skelton, will partner the trainer's Up The Drive in the maiden hurdle (3.00), but the blood will already be pumping after he completes the 26 miles of the MBNA Chester Marathon.
It is, however, a mission for the worthiest of causes as the jump jockey's girlfriend Abi Stock recently lost her father Chris – an owner with Martin Keighley and Donald McCain and father of conditional rider Harry – to cancer.
The 24-year-old, who has already raised more than £3,000, said: "Chris was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March so I thought I'd run a marathon for him and to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I entered one in Berlin in September, but got injured so I had to pull out.
"It was his aim to try to get to Chester and he never quite made it. He was only 54, very young, and it's all a bit of a shock. He was a massive racing fan."
Shoemark, whose younger brother Kieran is a rising star on the Flat, added: "I chose Chester and the training's been good. I did the Swindon half-marathon not long ago and I'd love to break three hours. The main reason I picked Chester was that if I was riding it was Uttoxeter on the same day and they're not too far from each other.
"My run's at 9am and hopefully I'll be done in three hours and then dash to Uttoxeter. I've got loads of time, but it will be a nightmare if I cramp up halfway round!"
You can sponsor Conor Shoemark and donate to Cancer Research UK here