Runners make final preparations ahead of Virgin Money London Marathon
The training plans have been completed and the sponsorship money is flooding in - now it’s time for our local London Marathon entrants to get running.
The Virgin Money London Marathon is one of the great British sporting events, combining elite athletics, mass participation and record-breaking fundraising in one race.
On Sunday, around 38,000 people will attempt to complete the 26.2-mile course, passing through the streets of the capital from Blackheath to the famous finish line at The Mall.
Matthew Denny, 46, from Oakham, was inspired to run for Leukaemia Care after his wife Marie fell ill last year.
She was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia after going to the doctor suffering from hot sweats and is currently undergoing a programme of targeted chemotherapy.
Writing on his JustGiving page, Matthew said: “My family was shocked beyond belief when, out of the blue, following a routine blood test, we were told that Marie has a very rare form of blood cancer.
“Thanks to amazing research and development, rather than a five to seven year prognosis (as was the case 15 years ago) she actually has the chance of living a full and active life, albeit on strong drugs with nasty side effects.
“In these circumstances you feel helpless, so I have decided to take the bull by the horns and do something positive for her, and for the charity which supports those with this horrible disease.”
Matthew and Marie, 48, have a daughter, Elysia, 9.
Marie said she was really proud of her husband, adding: “He’s never done anything like this before. He runs between the wickets when playing for Empingham Cricket Club, but that’s about it, so it’s a big challenge and he’s been training hard.
“We want to raise awareness of chronic myeloid leukaemia. Like me, it’s common for people to have very minor symptoms, so if there’s something you are worried about, pleased get it checked.”
Matthew has already raised over £3,000 for Leukaemia Care.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Matthew-Denny
Penny Hedley Lewis, 67, from Corby Glen, is running the London Marathon for the 11th time and seeking sponsorship for the British Red Cross, for which she is county president.
She qualified via the Good For Age system which ensures runners capable of setting a good time can take part.
Penny, who was made an MBE in the new year’s honours list, said: “I was in Parliament Square the other day and thought, ‘Oh, my God, I’ll be here again at the weekend’.
“My best time ever was four years ago when I ran 4:03.59. I don’t expect to get near that again, in fact I’ll be happy with anything under four-and-a-half hours.
“Just getting round is an achievement. The crowd really help spur you on.”
To donate, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PennyHedleyLewis-1
Nicola Urmston, 42, from Lonsdale Road, Stamford, will also be taking part. She started running in 2015 to get fit with the aim of entering the marathon this year.
Nicola is attempting to raise £3,000 for her chosen charity Children with Cancer UK. To sponsor Nicola, search for her name at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/