The Virgin Money London Marathon takes place on Sunday – and there will be plenty of representation from the Cambridge region.
Here, we profile some of those running – drop us a line at [email protected] if you take part, and share your story, pictures and time with us. Good luck to all the runners.
Dr Nick Green
Dr. Nick Green
A Cambridgeshire GP is just one of the many fundraisers in the region who will be taking part in Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon through the streets of London.
Dr Nick Green, a speciality doctor at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger, Bedfordshire and a GP in south east Cambridge, will be running in memory of patients he has cared for at the hospice and to raise funds so the palliative, neurological and bereavement care charity can be there for more families.
Dr Nick, as he is known by his colleagues at Sue Ryder, caught the running bug when taking part in Park Run, then progressed to a 10k race, then a half marathon.
Dr Nick then decided to go all in and enter the London Marathon and hopes the full 26.2 mile course won’t prove a step too far.
“Running has been really good for my mental wellbeing,” explained Dr Nick. “The pandemic has increased pressures and responsibilities for so many people in both their home and professional lives, but we have navigated through it and I am really looking forward to the London Marathon being a real celebration of everything we’ve achieved.
“There are so many things I love about Sue Ryder. I love the team I am part of and the fact that we are able to make a tangible difference to patients and their families. Finally, I love that we can deliver healthcare in the way that it should be delivered. Sue Ryder’s care is truly holistic and very patient centred.
“Everyone in the hospice appreciates life can be uncertain, but we try and celebrate life as much as possible. There is probably more laughter in a hospice than you would imagine.
“I also like to tell people that about half the patients we work with actually don’t come in for an end of life admission – they come for a holistic review so we can help improve their symptoms, help improve their quality of life and help them forward plan so they can carry on living.
“I am inspired daily by people who face such challenges with such positivity. Being part of a team doing such a really worthwhile thing is its own reward. It’s an utter privilege to look after each person and their family.
“There’s a 50 per cent chance I might cry too – cry that I have actually done it and done it in memory of all those I have helped care for at Sue Ryder.”
“I really hope that after everything we have been through, this year’s London Marathon will be a real celebration of life. We have all been through so much over the past year. I am so grateful to be here and to give it a try.
“I am running this for the hospice and running in memory of the patients I have been honoured to care for.”
Aiming to raise £2,000 for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, you can donate to his Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/drnickgreen
Jude Clarke. Picture: Keith Heppell
For a grandmother of six from Cambridge hopes her Virgin Money London Marathon fundraising efforts will provide life-changing treatments for dementia by raising money for pioneering research.
Jude Clarke, 53, is running in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK. Ms Clarke, a communications officer with the charity, has been training for the event – her first London Marathon – since the end of 2019, having originally secured a place for April 2020, before the pandemic led to its postponement.
She said: “For as long as I can remember, I have watched the London Marathon and been moved and inspired by the ordinary people running and their amazing stories. Since working for Alzheimer’s Research UK and hearing about how the diseases that cause dementia affect so many families, I have been determined to complete the race myself, to raise as much money as possible in their honour.
“One in three people born today will go on to develop one of these diseases unless we find a cure. I am by no means a ‘natural’ runner, but the thought of all the people that I have spoken to in my role with the charity and in my own life who are affected by these cruel diseases will keep me going on Sunday.”
Jude has so far raised more than £4,600. To sponsor her, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jude-clarke-london-marathon-2020
Julia Sobik, Head of Sporting Events at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Our amazing team of London Marathon runners are helping us in our mission to make breakthroughs possible for people with dementia that will keep them connected to their families, their worlds and themselves for longer.”
Three men in one
3 Men, 1 Marathon
Two brothers and their housemate are aiming to bag a world record by turning the London Marathon into a four-legged race.
Brothers Michael Pelton, 28, and Andrew Pelton, 30, and their friend and housemate Niall Cooper, 28, will be tied together at the ankle and hoping to outstrip the current best of four hours and 44 minutes.
Called ‘3 Men 1 Marathon’, the trio met in Cambridge but now live in Brixton, south London are raising money for learning disability charity Mencap and have already beaten their £10,000 target.
A Cambridgeshire man who was hot in the eye when he was just seven years old is running as part of Team RNIB.
Piers Harding, 54, from Buckworth in Cambridgeshire, and his older brother, who was 12 at the time, were playing together when the air rifle accidentally went off, striking Piers in his right eye. Over the years, Piers has undergone several eye operations.
Piers, a design consultant engineer, said: “Although I have two per cent vision in my right eye, I’ve been lucky enough to live my life how I chose to. The outcome of my accident could have been very different. I’ve always had huge admiration for RNIB and jumped at the opportunity to make a difference. It’s for a great cause.”
This is the first time that Piers is taking part in the London Marathon. He will be running for RNIB to support the charity’s work in breaking down the barriers facing blind and partially sighted people.
Piers added: “It’s been challenging training on and off over the last year so I’m happy things are now in full swing. I am no professional runner, but I’ve been training five to six days a week to get myself prepared as much as possible for the big day.”
Lizzi Wagner, Senior Challenge Events Manager at RNIB, said: “We are pleased to have Piers join Team RNIB for the 2021 London Marathon. We can’t wait to cheer him on all the way to the finish line. The money he raises will help us continue to work towards a world without barriers for people living with sight loss. Please dig deep and support his fundraising efforts!”
To support Piers in reaching his fundraising goal for RNIB, please donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Piers-Harding61
Surgeon, Atanu Pal is running the London marathon to raise money for ACT. Pic – Richard Marsham
A Cambridgeshire surgeon is running for Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust to help them get a £1.5 robot to assist in surgery, a campaign also backed by the Cambridge Independent.
Atanu Pal said: I want patients to benefit from robotic surgery. Addenbrooke’s Hospital has some of the best surgeons in the world. Robot-assisted surgery, performed through smaller incisions with greater precision, offers patients a faster recovery. Fundraising for Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) will help buy Addenbrooke’s a robot and make surgery even better.
“As a consultant surgeon, working in a team to treat patients with bowel cancer, I have seen the benefits robotic surgery can bring to our patients. Seeing this, I am deeply inspired to raise money for the new Addenbrooke’s robot. I will be running the Virtual London Marathon 2021, for the robot, for our patients.”
Lucy Ashby-Hoare is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust after the help given to her father by the liver transplant unit.
She said: “After years of thinking about running a marathon, I will be running for The Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT).
“Back in 2009 my Dad was was diagnosed with an inflammatory disease, he became very ill over a period of time requiring a number of operations. In 2015 he was diagnosed with liver disease and by the end of 2016 this progressed to final stage liver disease. In 2017 he spent a couple of weeks at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and was told he only had a few months to live and was placed on the liver transplant waiting list. In May 2017 a suitable liver became available and the transplant took place on 16th May.
“Over four years on, Dad’s health has improved although more recently he has been admitted to Addenbrooke’s on three occasions and sadly become very poorly again. Unfortunately it looks like he’s going to require another liver transplant so raising money for ACT and the transplant unit is even more important to me.
“I can’t thank the Addenbrooke’s liver transplant team enough for the support they have provided to my father and raise as much money as possible, as my way of saying thank you to all the amazing surgeons, consultants and nursing staff of the Addenbrooke’s liver transplant unit.”
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