Given the race related challenges, cancellation and postponements in recent times, the return of the iconic Virgin London Marathon 2021 on 3 October is cause for celebration. Marathon newbies and veterans at the distance are training hard in preparation for heading to the capital to join the 50,000 strong mass participation event under Covid conscious conditions.
Winners of the 2021 London Marathon running club ballot, Adam McElhone and Steph Attenborough, will be joined by several more team-mates in Britain’s best loved 26.2 mile race. Although not as many runners as in the 2019 event, there will still be plenty of local interest you can track online. Gail Gunn, Steve Wilson, Joanne Hardy and Paul Cooper have all trained hard for their first attempts at the distance.
Gail Gunn and Steve Wilson have had tortuous waits to undertake their London Marathons having originally secured charity places for the race in 2020. Gail, a plucky cancer survivor in her mid-60s, is fundraising for local charity Mary Ann Evans Hospice. She has bagged Solihull Half Marathon during training and will get 20 miles under her belt before the big day. Gail is at 90% of her £2,000 target for the charity and is aiming “just finish it and share the fun experience with my running buddies and finish feeling well enough to enjoy a beer!”. Steve Wilson, also a cancer survivor, is running for Kidney Cancer UK, a charity close to his heart. After a number of setbacks in training, including a stress fracture and a recent osteoarthritis diagnosis, Steve has been working hard with his personal trainer, and is determined to be on the London start line and reach the £2,500 target for his charity.
Joanne Hardy, and committed Sunday social run organiser Leesa Dennis, are running their general ballot places together after training in tandem since the end of May. It is Leesa’s second go at the distance having run London for the first-time pre-pandemic in 2019. Joanne commented that: “training is going well apart from a tough run last Sunday at Milton Keynes, a very hot day made the last long run difficult but we managed to complete 22 miles as planned”. She’s raising as much as she can for another local charity, Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes, along the way. Wayne Repton also got a general ballot place but he too is fundraising, for Alzheimer's Research UK. Wayne ran his first marathon in Boston, May 2021, and is capitalising on his debut and training at the Dorney Lake marathon prep event to hopefully bag another sub-4 hour finishing time.
It’s not all been plain sailing for the Badgers as unfortunately Charlotte Oliver has had to withdraw due to illness, though she plans to come back strong at the Liverpool marathon next year instead. Everyone at the club wishes her a speedy and full recovery. Glyn Broadhurst, with his good for age place from 2019, is aiming to beat his 2 hour 53 minute PB attained at the Mancunian mass participation event. Club record holder Ryan Bennett is another hoping to feature, despite having been “between races” for a considerable time!
Paul Cooper secured a last minute charity place with Dyslexia Research Trust with the goal of raising £1,000 for the charity. Liz Peel also hopes to raise over £1,250 for the same charity, in order to run her 101st marathon at London, sporting dalmatian accessories. She’ll be joined by ex-Badger and fellow 100 Marathon Club member Olivia Stacey who’ll be clocking up her 192nd marathon with an ambitious £10,500 target for Chloe Bigmore Trust.
So “Get Cete Go” for the London Marathon! While it is doubtful the runners will equal the £20,000 raised for worthy causes through the 2019 London marathon let’s support them in their fundraising efforts, and wish them well for their big day in London next month. You can sponsor any of these amazing runners and their excellent charities using the information below:
Paul Cooper, Dyslexia Research Trust, https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulCooper118
Gail Gunn, Mary Ann Evans Hospice, https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gailgunn
Joanne Hardy, Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes, https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/joanne-hardy-2
Liz Peel, Dyslexia Research Trust, https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/liz-peel101
Wayne Repton, Alzheimer’s Research Trust, https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/WayneRepton
Steve Wilson, Kidney Cancer UK, https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/steve-wilson-SAVMLMBONDS333-2020-173882