In early March we ran a competition with a completely unique prize; for one lucky winner to see the course from the official Timex lead car followed by a comfortable seat in the Virgin Money Finishing Grandstand to watch the rest of the race. Plus an overnight stay in London the night before the big day.
The really unique thing about this competition was that it was for supporters rather than fundraisers. We asked Virgin Money London Marathon fundraisers to nominate someone who has supported them through thick and thin, good training days and bad training days, someone who really deserved the experience. Plus we gave three runners up prizes of tickets for the Virgin Money Starting Grandstand; a real VIP experience, watching the elites – including Mo Farah – wheelchairs and thousands of amazing fun runners cross the start line.
We were flooded with incredible entrants and it was extremely difficult to pick our winners, but here they are along with their inspiring stories:
The winner of the Lead Car seat was Mike Jack, nominated by his wife Emma. 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. Although Mike is on the road to recovery after several operations, due to his injuries and having a shattered patella (knee cap), he will not be able to run for some time and has deferred his London Marathon place. Emma will be running her sixth London Marathon, fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a life threatening illness which Mike and Emma’s son has. Emma says “Mike has supported me through my training dispite 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“. You can support Emma via her Virgin Money Giving page.
The runners up, each winning a pair of pickets for the Virgin Money Starting Grandstand, were Emma Cowie, nominated by Matt Boot, the partner of Odette Barnes who nominated him, and Tom, nominated by Julie Durcan.
Julie Durcan nominated her partner Tom. 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 and she will be fundraising for Rooprai Spinal Trust and Spinal Research.
Matt Boot nominated his sister in law Emma Cowie who is undergoing treatment for a brain tumour at the Walton Centre. Matt is running the marathon this year and fundraising for the Walton Home from Home appeal. The marathon weekend will be Emma’s first weekend away from home since starting treatment and she will now be able to watch Matt start.
Odette Barnes also nominated her partner. She admitted it was very difficult to choose as she has so many supporters, however having been supported through the death of her father and now through her Marathon training, from couch to marathon runner, which she admits has sometimes resulted in “full meltdown”. Odette is running for the Outward Bound Trust.