Run Hackney Half Marathon


Do you love The Big Smoke and would love to run round the city of London but just can’t commit to running a marathon? Run Hackney Half Marathon could be just the event for you!

The flat, fast half marathon course will take place on 22 June 2014 and runs round the beautiful borough of Hackney. It starts near the famous Hackney Empire, goes along the London Fields and finally meanders through the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The event is open to all abilities of runners and also include challenges for School Teams and Business Teams, so you can run the event as part of a group.

The official charities for the event are Cancer Research UK and the East End Community Foundation.


The Virgin Money London Marathon – done!


A huge well done to everyone who took part in the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon! If you’ve woken up this morning and you’re still wearing your finisher medal it’s totally acceptable – you should be keeping it on for at least a week.

Now you’ve completed the 26.2 miles, here are 4 things you can do this week to boost your fundraising total:

  1. Update your fundraising page with a photo from Sunday. The official Marathon Photo images will be available shortly, or if you had a friend take a photo at the start or the finish it will help show everyone you did it.
  2. Change the information on your page, let your supporters know how the run went, what time you did and how it felt crossing that finish line.
  3. Send a quick email to everyone you know – including people who’ve already donated. Let them know how much you’ve raised so far, your finishing time, and a link to your fundraising page. When your friends and family find out how well you did they might donate again.
  4. You can download a finisher certificate with your time from the Virgin Money London Marathon, just put your details in here, you’ll find it just below your  marathon timings.

We’d love to hear how it went for you, let us know by leaving a comment below.


The Walking with the Wounded Team take on the Virgin Money London Marathon

Walking with the Wounded

The Walking with the Wounded Team took on the trek to the South Pole at the end of last year. They trained hard for months to build up to the challenge and ensure that they were fit enough to get to The Pole. So once it was over they needed another target, what better than the Virgin Money London Marathon?

The team have various injuries which will make the 26.2 miles an even bigger challenge than normal. They range from leg and arm amputees, blindess as well as lots of others. But they’re a very strong bunch of people and won’t let that get in the way of getting to the finish line on The Mall.

From the press conference yesterday the team told us that a few of them have run marathons before but never the Virgin Money London Marathon and this is the one they’re most looking forward to. Ivan Castro is a particular fan of marathon running and has 40 marathons under his belt. Plus he’s going to be taking part in the Boston Marathon on Monday 21 April, a week after the Virgin Money London Marathon.

The team will be running together so if you see them along the route make sure you give them a big cheer of encouragement and you can donate to them here.


#FundraiserFriday London Marathon Special

Good Luck Image


The London Marathon is the largest annual fundraising event on the planet and approximately 36,000 people will run it this year. Each runner has a reason for running, some sort of team behind them, a goal to reach and many are fundraising for a charity of their choice. Here are some of their fundraising stories;

One of the 34,000 people running the London Marathon last year was Carly Paget and, far from giving into the pain of those 26 miles, Carly decided to do it all again this year. Carly is running the marathon for the charity chYps Children’s Hospice at Home, part of Kent charity EllenorLions Hospices, a charity close to her heart after a very close family friend, Michael Constantinou, was diagnosed with a brain tumour which, four years after his diagnosis, turned out to be incurable. In his final days, chYps made it possible for Michael to be at home with his mother, father and sister and helped make the time more bearable. Carly says that her training is going well. She admits that it can be a struggle in cold weather, but the thought of Michael and chYps inspired her to keep going. She says “I know that every mile I run is helping to care for another child like [Michael]”.

Earlier on this year, Virgin Money recruited five keen Social Media users to document their London Marathon journey. One of them was Laura Mitchell, who again is running for the second year in a row. Laura is running for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society for her mother. Laura says “My mum has suffered from this horrible degenerative disease for the last 25 years. But she’s done so with such resilience, determination and always with a smile on her face, no matter how much pain she is in”. Laura has kept followers of Virgin Money’s #extramile site interested with Tweets, blogs and pictures of her training, stating that her mother is her inspiration, saying “whatever happens during those 26.2 miles, it’s worth every ache, pain, blister and bruise!”

Two London Marathons sounds a lot, but meet Emma. Emma is running her sixth London marathon this year, fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Emma and her husband Mike have a son who has cystic fibrosis, an illness which can be life threatening. Last year, when Mike was training for the London Marathon on his bike, he was hit by a car and then driven over twice, leaving him fighting for his life. Emma won a place in the London Marathon Lead Car for Mike after telling us “Mike has supported me through my training despite what he has been through and think he deserves this once in a life time opportunity and this would feel like he’s running with me“.

Beth Northey has made it very clear that running a marathon was never on her list of things to do. She says, in fact, that she’s “more of a spectator rather than partaker“. However, in August 2011, Beth’s brother Toby was involved in a paragliding accident in France and broke his lumbar spine, leaving him paralysed. The way that Toby dealt with his accident and the life changing effects has changed Beth’s outlook. She says “Whenever I think of what happened to my brother, I feel such pride for how he has dealt with his accident, he does not let paralysis get in the way of his living life to the very fullest.” Beth is fundraising for Spinal Research.

Julie Durcan is running the marathon and fundraising for Rooprai Spinal Trust and Spinal Research. Her partner Tom suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a swimming pool accident and is now paralysed from the shoulders down. Julie was inspired to run the marathon by Tom’s intensive one-to-one physio efforts. She says “Marathon training seems easy compared to the hard work that people with spinal cord injuries do as part of their rehabilitation”.

Rohan Kallicharan has experienced depression and bipolar disorder since his late teens. He remembers the times he was told that he was too young to be experiencing mental health problems, or that he couldn’t have rohandepression because he had a job, family and friends. While slowly rebuilding his life, Rohan admits to being overweight and suffering from poor health, but signed up for the Bupa Great Manchester Run (10k) and Great Birmingham Run (half marathon), publicly stating his intentions so he would be unable to back out. Although training was extremely hard, since that day Rohan has lost 7  stone and completed, not just those, but a further four half marathons; getting his time down to 1 hour and 28 minutes. In order to keep raising money for Mind whilst raising awareness of mental illness, Rohan now has the big one, the 26.2 mile Virgin Money London Marathon, plus the Liverpool Marathon in May lined up.

Matt Boot is running the marathon this year and fundraising for the Walton Home from Home appeal. Matt’s sister in law Emma Cowie  is undergoing treatment for a brain tumour at the Walton Centre and marathon weekend will be Emma’s first weekend away from home since starting treatment. Thanks to a Virgin Money Giving competition, she will now be able to watch Matt start his marathon from the grandstand.

Against the odds, and various sources of medical advice, Jack, the 50 year old dad of 5 boys, is attempting to run his first and only marathon. Jack has worked at Save the Children for over three years now, and has been able to visit teams on the ground in Africa, Asia and right here in the UK where the public’s support makes a massive difference across the world. Save the Children saves children’s lives, fights for their rights and helps them fulfil their potential. Jack tells us that “The number of children under 5 dying every year has fallen from 12m in 1990 to 6.6m last year. That’s dramatic progress, but there’s still a long way to go. 1 million babies still die every year on their very first day of life – just because the world doesn’t have enough midwives or adequate, affordable healthcare.” Hannah, who works with Jack, says “The good news for everyone, is that we can do something about it – it really doesn’t take much. The bad news for Jack, is that I decided that what he should do is run 26.2 miles. Nice.” With the help of his sons – who have kindly “agreed” to help him train for the big day – he’s taking it on. Jack has also been making videos of his progress, you can watch his film on his fundraising page.

From all at Virgin Money Giving and Virgin Money, we wish all the London Marathon 2014 runners the best of luck on Sunday.

Take a quick look at the Virgin Money London Marathon Course

Last year we fitted a GoPro camera to the front of the Timing car, which drove ahead of the Elite Women’s race. You can sit back and take a look at the entire Virgin Money Marathon Course.

Essential viewing as part of your race day preparations!

The Virgin Money London Marathon International Elite Women

Virgin Money London Marathon Elite Women

The Greatest Elite Men’s Field ever assembled is also accompanied by a wonderful Women’s Line-up who could be looking to break some records come Race Day.

This Line-up is comprised of; the Winner from the 2013 race, the 5,000m World Record Holder, the World Half Marathon Record Holder, Olympic Marathon Champion and Double World Champion. So the race will most definitely be on for some of the top athletes in the world.

Someone who knows all about the trials and tribulations of the Virgin Money London Marathon is former Elite Athlete Mara Yamauchi. She asked the women whether they’ll be going for the World Marathon Record of 2:17:42 on Sunday. The answer from last year’s winner Priscah Jeptoo was; “my first aim is to try and break 2:20 but I’m in good shape and there’s a strong field so it could get beaten.”

One of the contenders for the top place this weekend is Tirunesh Dibaba. She’s making her debut over the Marathon distance and when asked why she didn’t compete last year her reply was simply; “My aeroplane was a year late.” This amused some of the crowd and they suggested she become a Politician rather than a Marathon Runner. Dibaba did go on to say “I’ve been training very hard in Ethiopia and feel like I’m ready for the step-up to the longer distance now.”

We’re all looking forward to seeing just how quick these ladies can go, and more importantly whether they’ll be able to get that bit closer to that fantastic long-standing World Record set by legend Paula Radcliffe. It’s going to be a good race on Sunday.

The Celebrity Challenge 2014

Virgin Money London Marathon Elite Ladies

The celebrity line-up is nearly as magnificent as the Elite line-up, but in a different way. This year the Celebrity Stage was overflowing with both experienced Sportspeople and eager first-timers all ready for the challenge of the Virgin Money London Marathon. 

To take to the stage first were James Cracknell, Anna Watkins, Lewis Moody, Charlie Webster, Keith Senior and Michael Owen. Each of them have been at the top of their game in various other sports including Rugby, Horse-riding, Rowing and Football. But on Sunday their minds will be clearly focused on running. Michael Owen said; “there are two reasons I decided to run the Virgin Money London Marathon this year, one was to do something for charity and the other was to give myself something to focus on after retiring from professional football”.

Michael’s target time is 3 hours 45 minutes which is 3rd fastest in the predictions from the sportspeople. James Cracknell’s target is the quickest at sub 3 hours with Charlie Webster coming in a close third at 3 hours 30 minutes. Whereas all the other athletes hinted at finishing between 4 -5 hours.

Virgin Money London Marathon Elite Men

The rest of the celebrities in the second wave to hit the stage were; Opera Singer Laura Wright, The One Show presenter Joe Crowley, singer Matt Henry, actor Nick Pickard, model Amy Guy and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’s Amy Willerton.

For Laura Wright, running the Virgin Money London Marathon isn’t enough, she’s going to stop at half way on Tower Bridge and sing ‘Jerusalem’, one of her favourite songs. She said; “I’ve been practicing stopping in the middle of a run and singing and have been getting some funny looks from people when I suddenly burst into Jerusalem.”

If you’re celeb spotting on the route this year, now you’ll know who to watch out for. Oh and Amy Willerton, who’s running for Chicken Shed has promised to dress up as a chicken so you may well see that too if she finds a suit!

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2013 Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

2013 Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

2013 Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

2013 Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

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