The Virgin Money London Marathon is the world’s largest one-day fundraising event and more than 75 per cent of the 40,000+ runners will be raising money for charity on Sunday 22 April, adding to the incredible total of £890+ million raised in the first 37 years of the event.
Every runner has very personal reasons to run the famous 26.2-miles and here are some of their stories:
Siblings Georgia, Hugo and Anthony Rawlinson will run this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon with the memory of their mum, Penny, forefront in their minds. Initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, Penny had been given the all-clear when she started to feel unwell. Numerous doctor and hospital visits failed to show that she was suffering from secondary breast cancer, which had spread to her heart cavity, an extremely rare form of cancer. Devastated, the siblings decided to turn their heartbreak into something positive and are hoping to raise £60,000 for Breast Cancer Now in memory of their mum who would have turned 60 this year.
Also running in memory of a loved one is 21-year old Sophie Holt who is raising money for MIND following her sister Gemma’s suicide in 2015. Gemma had suffered with mental health issues for some time and younger sister Sophie is hoping that by running the Virgin Money London Marathon she can help remove the stigma that still surrounds mental health, and encourage others to speak up when they are struggling.
Taking her place on the Start Line of the Virgin Money London Marathon will be the culmination of 18-months of hard work and dedication for 29-year old Claire O’Hara. Weighing over 18 stone after giving birth to her son William in December 2015, Claire has lost a staggering eight stone and has now set her sights on completing the 26.2-mile race to prove anyone can do it. She will be raising money for Centrepoint after witnessing the reality of homelessness in her hometown of Liverpool while out on her training runs.
While Claire completes her first marathon on 22 April, fellow runner Steve Edwards will set out to complete his 820th marathon, and 23rd London Marathon. He is on a mission to complete 1,000 official marathons in the fastest average finish time, sub 3hr 30. This year, he will be raising funds for Kate’s Home Nursing, a small charity based in Gloucestershire which provides palliative care for patients in the latter stages of terminal illness.
Three generations of the same family will run the London Marathon together for the first time in 2018, all raising money for the charity RAFT. Robert (Bob) Jenkins, his son Robert (Rob) Jenkins Jnr and grandson Iwan Fesnoux will be at the Start Line in the hope of adding to the £75,000 they have already raised for RAFT over the last 25 years. The three will leave family loyalties behind when they set off, each determined to make it to the Finish Line on The Mall first.
And finally, Timothy Mills will run his first ever London Marathon for this year’s Charity of the Year, Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT). He was first introduced to TCT at University Hospital Wales where he was treated for acute lymphoblastic lymphoma in August 2014, aged 20. Tim is now an ex-patient having completed his treatment in January this year and is looking forward to celebrating his successful recovery by ticking the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon off his bucket list.
This is just a small selection of inspiring stories from this year’s runners. Read more here.