Lawyer runs London Marathon as tribute to best friend who died at just 33

A lawyer who trains in Richmond Park ran the virtual London Marathon last weekend in memory of a close friend who died aged just 33.

Akram Shalabi, 34, paused at 8.5 miles on the 26.2-mile route in memory of Tarek who died in May from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADs).

The two friends had known each other since they were 12-years-old and planned to run the London Marathon together this year, but Tarek died before he had the chance.

Tarek and Akram together at a football match
SHARED PASSIONS: Akram (left) and Tarek (right) were both keen footballers, playing together with Kentish Town F.C.

Akram said: “Tarek was kind and calm, always had a smile on his face. But he was also very determined.

“He had had some set backs in life, as we all have, but he always met them with a smile.”

With the rain falling, Akram continued to run before stopping again at the 21.10 kilometres to mark Tarek’s birthday on October 21.

Two of Tarek’s friends, Rob and Ahmed, joined Akram for the final 5km of the run.

Rob, Akram and Ahmed join for the last 5km of the virtual london marathon to remember Tarek
THREE REMEMBER: Rob, Ahmed and Akram originally planned to walk the final 5km but decided to run as the rain fell

He said: “To each one of us, [Tarek] was the closest friend we had. We always bring him up, and we always talk about him.

“We have also continued traditions: Sunday afternoon at Rob’s for the Premier League. We still do that. Nando’s Chicken, something Tarek loved, we still do that. We can continue things.”

Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) is a cardiac arrest without any known cause.

The British Heart Foundation said that on average 12 people under the age of 35 die every week from an undiagnosed heart condition.

They added that these are often conditions which have been passed on through families, can affect people at any age and be life-threatening if untreated.

A PROMISED RUN: At a BBQ after Akram ran the London Marathon in 2018, the two friends agreed to run the event together in the future

Akram and Tarek had met at school in Libya in 1998 before they both moved to London and played in the same team at Kentish Town Football Club.

Tarek went on to be an estate agent at the High Street Kensington branch of Chestertons before his death and Akram works at Grosvenor Law in Mayfair.

MARATHON MAN: Akram is a keen marathon runner and has completed 80 marathons in 36 different countries including five in London

The London Marathon was held remotely this year due to Coronavirus, but lawyer Akram still completed the original route, starting in Greenwich.

GOOD LUCK CHARM: Akram touches a wooden pylon outside The Old Mitre pub in Greenwich as part of his pre-London-run ritual

Akram was raising money for the charity Sense, with more information available on his JustGiving page.

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