Widow storms the London Marathon in memory of former rugby league star

The widow of rugby league legend Tony Barrow has taken on the London Marathon to help find a cure for the disease that claimed her husband’s life.

Ann-Marie Barrow, 36, was among tens of thousands of runners who pounded the streets of the capital at the London Marathon, on Sunday, April 28. Ann-Marie, who lives in Windle, raised more than £7,100 by tackling the world’s most famous running event.

Born and raised in Thatto Heath, St Helens, Tony followed in the footsteps of his dad, Tony Barrow Sr, to become a professional Rugby League player for Oldham RLFC and latterly Swinton Lions RLFC. In 2015, Tony was working as a personal trainer and as a senior childcare worker at Nugent House School in Billinge, when he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

The 45-year-old sportsman underwent surgery twice, endured radiotherapy and chemotherapy but he died less than two years later in March 2017, leaving Ann-Marie and his daughters Megan and Lucy.

Ann-Marie said: “Together with Tony’s friend Phil Green, I completed the marathon to raise vital funds for research and also to raise awareness of this devastating disease.

“I set myself a fundraising target of £3,000 so I was amazed to have more than doubled this amount and I am very grateful to my family and friends who donated.

“I was very pleased with my time of 05:00:08 and, importantly, to have raised awareness of this dreadful disease. Phil completed the route in 04:51:37. The marathon was an incredibly tough challenge but I was determined to cross the finish line for Tony and I was thinking about him every step of the way.

“Tony’s diagnosis was a devastating blow to us all and we were shocked that someone as fit and healthy as him could have such a poor prognosis. It was also dreadful to learn about the historic underfunding of research into the disease.”

 To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research via Ann-Marie’s JustGiving page, click here.