Coon Rapids man runs London Marathon, raises money for guide dogs

A passionate and energetic runner, Alan Guthrie finished his 11th marathon April 22 when he crossed the London Marathon finish line in 4 hours, 24 minutes and 28 seconds – an impressive pace that had him finishing in the middle of the pack of 36,705 runners.

But perhaps more impressive is the more than $4,000 Guthrie raised for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association when he ran the race – the largest annual fund-raising event on the planet, said Guthrie, a 1990 Coon Rapids High School graduate, who currently lives in England.

Alan Guthrie, 1990 graduate of Coon Rapids High School currently living in England, finished the April 22 London Marathon, raising money for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which provides service dogs for blind and partially sighted people. Photo submitted

Alan Guthrie, 1990 graduate of Coon Rapids High School currently living in England, finished the April 22 London Marathon, raising money for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which provides service dogs for blind and partially sighted people. Photo submitted

Guthrie, who with his wife has two dogs, a cat and a horse, “has such a love for dogs and animals and he’s seen how much those dogs can do for the blind and visually impaired. That’s why he does it,” said Guthrie’s mother, Marcia, a resident of Coon Rapids.

In fact, both of Guthrie’s parents, Bill and Marcia, are members of the Coon Rapids Lions Club, an organization that has provided support for guide dogs for many years.

“I (ran) the London Marathon for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association because they do great work,” Alan Guthrie said on his JustGiving.com fund-raising page.

Guthrie has now completed two London Marathons, each time raising money for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Other marathons he’s run over the years include Grandma’s (his first) and the Twin Cities Marathon, as well as marathons in Stockholm, Sweden; Denmark; Berlin, Germany; the United Kingdom; Dublin, Ireland; Disney World and Stillwater.

Guthrie loves to run and his compassion for the visually impaired runs deep, energizing his training runs as well as setting an ambitious pace in each of the 11 marathons he’s run since 2002.

“The ability to get around is vital in order to live a full life, yet thousands of blind and partially sighted people never leave home alone,” Guthrie said on his JustGiving website.

The Guide Dogs organization for which he raised donations breeds and trains guide dogs that provide life-changing mobility.

There are currently 4,500 working guide dog partnerships in the United Kingdom, Guthrie said, and more than 25,000 around the world.

Guide dog owners only have to pay about $81 for their dog – that’s a greatly reduced fee when you consider the lifetime cost of a guide dog from birth to retirement is about $78,170, according to Marcia Guthrie.

“(The Guide Dogs Association) wants to ensure that no-one is prevented from having one due to a lack of funds,” Marcia said. “It’s really unbelievable what’s he’s done for that charity.”

Guthrie is still collecting funds for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Anyone interested can simply visit www.JustGiving.com/AlanGuthrie to make a donation.

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com


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