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 depression 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.