News and Events

London Marathon “bum-shuffle” finish

Posted: 1st May 2024


When Adam Cunningham, Head of Junior School Mathematics, Upper Two form tutor and Head of CCF RAF, decided to run the London Marathon this year, he did not expect to be completing the last 850 metres bottom shuffling along the road. On track for a race time of around 3h26m, he sadly broke his leg with 850m to go. Side stepping a water bottle and landing oddly, he felt a searing pain shoot through his leg and fell to his knees. He then shuffled on his bottom for an hour to cross the finish line with kind support from race marshals protecting him from other runners.

Adam ran the 2024 London Marathon raising money for the British Heart Foundation who do incredible work to support and save the lives of people up and down the country with heart related illness and disease. Adam says, “It is of particular significance to me having lost my grandfather a few years ago to a heart attack following years of issues with his heart. Even more recently and notably, my father has been diagnosed with incurable and significantly life-limiting heart disease. I am inspired and motivated to raise as much as I can for the BHF.”

Exeter School’s ethos to ‘excel beyond expectations’ was shown as his colleagues and friends all watched in awe when Adam bound his hands and continued for another hour to cross the finish line with pure determination. He has passed thanks along to parents of pupils at the school, friends and colleagues who are still submitting donations to his Just Giving page which has now far exceeded his original £2,500 target.

Adam, proudly sporting a full leg cast with x-rays showing a break with further fractures into the middle of the bone, returned to school on Friday 26 April for the inaugural “bum-shuffle” race.  The event, which was the brain-child of Adam’s colleagues and pupils in the CCF, boosted not only the money raised for British Heart Foundation but showed what a tremendous community spirit is showcased daily in the school community.  Of course, pupils were not asked to run 25 miles (or break their leg) but instead to shuffle the 850m course flagged on the school’s field.

Karen McDonnell, Senior Event Manager at the British Heart Foundation, said “We all watched in awe as Adam bum shuffled across the finish line. His courage and determination is inspirational.”

“Exeter School’s sponsored ‘bum shuffle’ held in Adam’s honour is a fitting way to celebrate his marathon effort and raise funds for the British Heart Foundation’s lifesaving research. It’s thanks to the commitment of people like Adam, that we’re able to fund research that has already broken new ground, revolutionised treatments and transformed the lives of millions of people in the UK.”

You can read what pupils said of the gruelling challenge on the BBC news story covered here. Adam was proud to see everyone out and was sporting that all important finisher’s medal for his hard-earned tribute to his grandfather.


You can watch Adam crossing the finish line on his bottom at 2:54:25 of this video.

Inaugural bum-shuffle race