Meningitis survivor runs 7 marathons in 7 days

16 Jun 2020
Meningitis survivor runs 7 marathons in 7 days
Tom Harlow, 41, from Ashton Keynes near Cirencester has completed 7 marathons in 7 days to raise over £6,000 for Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF), after developing meningitis TWICE himself.

Tom was an 18 year old student the first time he contracted meningitis.  He went to the GP four times, but was told to go home and take paracetamol.   Tom said: “When I eventually reached hospital it was touch and go.  One of the medics suggested that I might have taken an overdose, but I was very fortunate as another said he wanted to do a test to rule out meningitis, and that doctor saved my life without a doubt as it turned out I had MenB.  Thankfully I recovered without after effects.”

Last year, Tom discovered he had meningitis again.  He had two lumbar punctures but they were inconclusive, and although he still doesn’t know whether the second time was bacterial or viral, likelihood suggests the second bout of meningitis was viral. 

Now a self-employed HR consultant, and a father of two, Tom was training for the London Marathon in April to fundraise for MRF.  After it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tom committed to running 7 full marathons in just one week.

"While I was in solitary confinement in Swindon hospital for thirteen days last year I thought I wanted to set myself a challenge and turn my illness into something positive. I decided to support MRF to help defeat meningitis." - Tom Harlow

With support from his local community, Tom ran a total of 184.2 miles from 25th May – 31st May 2020. At time of writing his total stands at £6,261 – far exceeding his initial target of £2,050 – with 183 people having donated. MRF is profoundly grateful for his support.

Rob Dawson, Head of Support at MRF said, “As Tom’s story shows, it is vital that we continue to work to defeat meningitis, even during these incredibly difficult times and we thank Tom for his continued support.”

To support Tom, visit:

Running, cycling, walking, family events - something for everyone in the fight against meningitis
A global vision for meningitis by 2030 and an action plan to get there.

Detailed information about the after effects of meningitis

Media contact
Holly Edwards - Communications Manager
Tel: 07875 498 047
Share this