Marathon Stories

Marathon Stories

Marathon Stories from 2017 - 2 months after the event, lets check back in on our wonderful runners to inspire us for next year.

Kenyan runners dominated the London Marathon as Daniel Wanjiru and Mary Keitany won the men's and women's elite races respectively.

Keitany set a new women’s-only world record in the process, crossing the finish line in 2:17:01, the quickest ever time since men and women started racing separately.

Wanjiru, meanwhile, won his first ever London Marathon, holding off competition overwhelming favourite for victory, Kenenisa Bekele.

In the men's wheelchair race David Weir set a record of seven London Marathon victories.

The 37-year-old multi-medal winning paralympian passed Tanni Grey-Thompson's record of six victories as he took the title right on the line from Switzerland's Marcel Hug.

He crossed the finish line in a time of 1hr 31mins 6seconds, only a day after changing his mind about the race being his last.

In the women's wheelchair race Manuela Schar won her first ever victory in London.

But the real stories are of course our wonderful Southwark runners:

Julie El-Bahrawy ran for Southside Rehabilitation Ltd in an amazing 4 hours 34 mins (beating last years time) and so far has raised over £900 for her charity. There is still time to donate: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/julieslondonmarathon

I completed the London Marathon! It was a fantastic day and I managed to improve on my previous time this year with 4 hours 34 minutes. I have been raising money for my charity SRA and so far, have donations totalling over £900 and am hoping to reach my target of £1000 soon.

I would like to thank you and Community Southwark for the place in the 2017 London Marathon. It has given me a massive boost personally to achieve this amazing challenge again and the funds raised will go to support our organisation and the people we help every day who suffer with mental health problems.

Ian Hallet ran for Housing for Women

It was a great pleasure to be able to run the London Marathon this year and to raise money for Housing for Women, a tremendous charity which our com

pany, Imanova, supported last year. I travel a lot for my work and I have become acutely aware of a rise in homelessness in many big cities around the world and how this affects many of the most vulnerable people in society.

Although I have always jogged to keep fit, I had never before run a marathon and only gained a place in this year’s London Marathon in January so had just 3 months to train!

The real pressure started the day before with the press predicting a chance of the first sub 2 hour marathon at London this year – with some of the world’s top racer taking part, I now knew the size of the challenge that I had on my hand!

Weather conditions on the day were perfect: light cloud and not a breath of wind. I made my way to the start point in Greenwich Park, along with 40 thousand other runners.

The race itself was tremendous with thousands of supporters lining the streets, bands playing, people shouting and cheering helping to boost the runners on. The runners themselves included the usual mix of fancy dress as well as people trying to break records by bouncing basketballs, running barefoot dressed as Jesus (with an accompanying cross on his back), or even carrying a washing machine.

It felt fantastic (!?)  to run past so many great London landmarks such as Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, but nothing felt as good as running up Pall Mall towards Buckingham Palace and the end of the race to collect a medals and get a well-earned beer.

An important part of the race is the money raised for charity and so far I have raised over £1,500 including gift aid for Housing for Women and would like to thank everyone who sponsored and supported me!

My fundraising page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/IanHallett1 is still open and any further donations would be very much appreciated.

Lucienne Omara ran for Link Age Southwark

Hannah Locke Ran for Blackfriars Settlement

Hannah finished the run in 05:01:48 raising £2797.25 (including Gift aid). You can still donate here:http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=CharlesRussellSpeechlys&faId=796402&isTeam=false

Hannah says ‘it was not a PB for me but it was a really enjoyable run. There was so much support and everyone, runners, volunteers and spectators were all so friendly and kind!

As Tina explained, I work for Charles Russell Speechlys, who partner with Blackfriars Settlement as it is a small local charity that does a lot of good for the area that we work in. I have mostly had contact with members of the Crusoe Club who meet on a Friday, members include mostly those with visual impairments. I myself have a slight visual impairment as a result of Multiple Sclerosis, which I was diagnosed with at age 17 after a bout of Optic Neuritis’

Tina from Blackfriars adds ‘We are so grateful. Funds raised from the Marathon will go towards maintaining our much needed outreach work for isolated older people till September.

Matt Craig ran for Blue Elephant Theatre

Last year, Jo Sadler-Lovett, our esteemed participation director and artistic co-director at the Blue Elephant Theatre (BET) in Camberwell ran the marat

hon and achieved a fantastic time. When she offered me her place for 2017, as she couldn’t run this time, I felt morally obliged to follow her lead. After all, BET operates on a proverbial shoestring to offer a diverse programme o

f drama, dance, comedy and more, as well as working with schools, youth projects and other valuable local initiatives in a deprived part of South London. I’ve been a trustee and the honorary treasurer at BET for several years, so I’m well aware of how important BET’s work in the local community. I also have run for BET in the past, as we have often organised a small team to run a 10km fun run in or around London.

So I started training in December, but on my first long run in early January, one of my Achilles tendons complained. I ignored it at first, but after another run, I realised it needed treatment. This meant I missed around 5 weeks of vital training when you need to build a solid base of endurance. I started with very short runs in February, following the Couch to 5k podcasts on my physio’s advice, as well as her extensive programme of leg and core strengthening exercises.

As a result, it wasn’t until late February before I could get back into proper training. I managed a longish run on work trip to Madrid, then more long runs in the Durham and Northumberland when visiting my brother. My physio mapped out a programme for March and April of two or three runs a week and a longer run at the weekend, telling me I should get round, but it would hurt!

Having said all that, on the day everything went really well. I really enjoyed the entire event, even the last few miles in a perverse way - hearing 'When the Going Gets Tough' blasting out around mile 19 made me grin, and the constantly cheering spectators kept me running to the finish.

It must be a massive cliche to say so, but marathon day shows London at its best. The event itself is very well-organised by an army of cheerful, smiling volunteers. You start off going through streets where the locals graciously accept the roads are going to be closed for most of the day, so they turn the event into a street party; the pubs open and people spill onto the pavement to watch what must seem like a never-ending stream of runners, from Olympic athletes, through to the joggers and fun runners. I saw and heard acoustic singers, rock bands, a jazz band, a stationary school marching band, a bagpipe group, rappers, DJs - you name it, it was probably on the route at some point. I made sure to have my name on my t-shirt, so ensuring plenty of welcome shouts of 'go, Matt', 'looking good, Matt', 'you can do it, Matt' etc, and at one point, a well-oiled cry of 'Matt, go on my son!' from one cheery soul. I have to admit veering over the run by the crowds at times, to milk their support when I felt like a boost. I also kept looking at the crowds for a lot of it, at the variety of people there, and the motivational placards that ranged from the witty, such as "If Trump can run the USA, you can run 26.2 miles", to the more direct ones; "Go on Sarah, you massive *****, you can do it and don't **** yourself!", or another favourite, "Gin, Polly".

So the first half goes by fairly easily, before you cross Tower Bridge and turn east into the Docklands, and your legs and lungs start to feel it. By now you're looking out for water stations, and the showers set up to cool down the runners, and you start to take the jelly beans and other sweets on offer from spectators (well, I did). Just when you expect to be getting closer to the City, you see the Millennium Dome just across the river and think how close you are to the start, as the crow flies. But then the course turns west towards the City and you're counting down the miles left with each mile marker on the course. By now, I was repeatedly counting to 100 and thinking how I'd keep running for another mile, just playing mental games to keep myself going. It's true that the halfway point of the marathon is at 20 miles - the last six miles are definitely as much, if not more effort than the first 20, but they make it the challenge it is. But once you get to the Embankment, you know that's the start of a very long finishing straight in a way, with a crescendo of encouragement from spectators on both sides of the road and above you, on parapets and bridges, before you reach Parliament Square, then the Mall and the very welcome sight of the finish.

I’d like to end this by thanking everyone who offered their encouragement and to all my sponsors, as the Blue Elephant Theatre really needs and appreciates your support! My BT donate page is still open for donations here.

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/matthewcraig1

Robert Jamieson ran for Southwark Giving

See his full story here: http://www.communitysouthwark.org/news-jobs/he-did-it-reasontorun