Physicist to run London Marathon for Paignton Zoo

(Last Updated On: March 2, 2015)

A physicist from Exeter is running the London Marathon on behalf of a local conservation charity.

Dr Tom Duckworth is taking on the challenge of his very first marathon for Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. And he’s revealed that it’s music that helps him through the pain barrier.

“I started running because it was a good way to listen to music!” he says. Among his current running mates are local heroes Muse, as well as Kasabian, Vampire Weekend, Pink Floyd and the Black Keys. His guilty pleasure, he says, is a little Taylor Swift…

When he’s not out running, Tom works for Sparx, an education research company using technology, data and daily involvement in the classroom to scientifically investigate learning. “We use our knowledge of mathematics and insight into the learning process to develop engaging and radical new ways to teach topics that unlock a whole new world of understanding for students.”

Tom has always been sporty, playing football, hockey, basketball and netball. He has a degree in physics and a PhD in magnetic materials from the University of Exeter. He’s a big fan of zoos, loves gorillas and would like to go on safari one day.

He’s completed his fair share of 5,000 and 10,000 metre races, but this will be a new challenge. “The furthest distance I’ve run up to now is a half marathon. I’m gradually building up my training.”

And what about the infamous fatigue barrier that runners speak of? “I’ll have friends strategically placed at roughly the point where I expect to hit the wall!”

He hopes to raise £1,000 for Paignton Zoo, which is a registered charity. Jenny Paton, Paignton Zoo Fundraising Manager, said: “We are delighted Tom is going to run for us – he has been busy training and is keen to support our conservation work – do go on line and support him at”

To follow Tom’s training go to Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to or ring 0844 474 2222.


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