Titterton tackling London Marathon to give something back to surgeon and support team who saved his life
Life changed for Morton Titterton in August 2012.
The former Hinckley Town and Leamington midfielder, part of a successful management double act with Jason Cadden at Brakes, was enjoying success in his own right as boss of Stratford Town.
However, aged 42, a grade 2 ependymoma, “basically a brain tumour growing at the top of my spinal cord” put his sporting ambitions on hold.
“I was diagnosed in August 2012,” he continues. “I was manager of Stratford at the time. We were going really well, we’d just gone top and were bobbing along nicely.
“It changed everything. I had surgery within two weeks. I was fortunate that they removed most if not all of the tumour and the six to seven weeks of radiation did the rest.”
He was left with minimal deficit on his left side, some way short of the worst-case prognosis of paralysis, but it meant adjustments had to be made.
“I lack the cohesion to do with sport and as well as the physical deficiencies there is ongoing pain which can be managed with pain medication. It meant managing and coaching football had to end.”
A slow recovery process eventually led to Titterton picking up golf again but it was not until a switch in physiotherapist last year that his plan to repay those who had provided him with such fantastic support started to take shape.
“I always wanted to do something. For Munchi Choksey who was a brilliant surgeon. The whole support network was incredible. Pre op, post-op, the physio. I thought at some point I want to give something back and do something for the Brain Tumour Charity.
“I found a really good physio last summer and that was a step change in my back.
“It was like, I think I can run, I’ll start running. I started with a mile and kept plodding.”
For someone who had never run more than five miles before it proved a life-affirming decision. However, his next decision was not quite so well thought out. He was going to run the London Marathon.
“I decided I’d got to set a goal so I contacted the Brain Tumour Trust. I don’t know what possessed me to run the marathon.
“I was quite late and I didn’t qualify although I was still in the automatic public ballot. I breathed a sigh of relief as I was still only running a mile with a lot of discomfort.
“Then in October the magazine dropped through the door and I was shocked, you’re in. It took my breath away. It was ‘oh my God’, I was excited and terrified.
“I decided not to tell my wife and family at first and I set myself goals. Five miles by November and eight miles by Christmas. As it was I was up to ten miles. And I’m enjoying it and it’s helping me physically.”
Titterton completed the Warwick Half Marathon earlier in the month in 2hr 7min (some way behind fellow ex-Brake Jimmy Husband) and is now up to 18 miles on his long runs as part of a 17-week marathon training programme.
He is hoping to raise £4,000 for the Brain Tumour Charity through his Just.Giving page and a golf day at Leamington on April 3, with a bucket collection at Leamington FC also planned.
It will mean a return to the New Windmill for Titterton and a chance to reminisce on past glories.
However, he says stepping back from football has allowed him much more time to forge happy memories with those close to him.
“You don’t realise how much time you spend in football until you come out of it and then other things fill the space.
“I get down to local games, Solihull, Stratford, Leamington - although I’ve not been up there this season which is really bad.
“I won’t say I’ll never do it again but the family are growing up and you want to spend time with them before they move away.”
With coronavirus having forced off large-scale marathons in Tokyo, Rome and Paris, it is an anxious time for those preparing to line up on April 26.
Would Titterton consider an alternative such as Stratford should London be cancelled or postponed?
“I’d be devastated,” he fires back.”It would be hard to get motivated again.
“I did enjoy Warwick but the whole motivation is London and running the London Marathon. It’s our capital and if you’re only going to do one marathon you want it to be London.
“I don’t think I’d have been working hard in December and January as much if I was running Stratford.”
You can sponsor Morton at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/morton-titterton