London Marathon 2017: Stevenage runners on their marks ahead of 26.2-mile challenge

PUBLISHED: 16:52 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:59 21 April 2017

Edward Hare

Edward Hare


A dedicated crop of runners from Stevenage will be joining the thousands running the London Marathon this weekend.

• Carolyn Linsell will be testing her metal over the 26.2-mile course to raise funds for young adults living with life-threatening illnesses.

The 61-year-old decided to raise funds for the Willow Foundation – set up by Arsenal legend Bob Wilson and his wife Megs – after her nephew, Tom, was diagnosed with cancer.

The charity offers special days out for youngsters with serious illnesses and Tom was given one of their special days while he was undergoing treatment.

Carolyn now also volunteers for Willow in its Stevenage shop.

She said: “It was just after I started volunteering at the Willow shop in Stevenage that my nephew was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and I encouraged him to apply for a Willow Special Day. His day could not have come at a better time – Tom was just about to have his final chemo and needed something look forward to other than hospital appointments and treatment. I know how much it meant to him and his girlfriend, Holly, and I am running the marathon to raise as much money as I can to ensure others in Tom’s position have a special day too.”

Willow 10k Run 2015 
Hatfield House, 4th October 2015
Pic: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media Ltd
07930 364436
www.scantechmedia.comWillow 10k Run 2015 Hatfield House, 4th October 2015 Pic: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media Ltd 07930 364436

Carolyn is one of more than 30 runners representing the Herts-based Willow Foundation in the marathon.

You can sponsor her at

• Edward Hare, another of the brave runners from Stevenage, moved with his family to Ascot Crescent in Pin Green last April.

His daughter Leyla Flaherty-Hare goes to nursery at Martins Wood Primary School, where eight-year-old cancer sufferer Brandon Balaam is also a pupil.

Brandon was diagnosed with Leukaemia a year ago and still has just under two years of daily chemotherapy to go. The family are receiving much-needed support from the CLIC Sargent charity which has been by their sides since Brandon’s diagnosis.

Michelle Selby and James DillnuttMichelle Selby and James Dillnutt

Ed is joining a team of runners called Team Brandon who are all rasing cash for the charity.

You can support him by visiting

• Michelle Selby, 41, and James Dillnutt, 37, from Stevenage are hoping to raise £3,000 from Barnardo’s.

The couple are running in memory of Michelle’s friend Tony Munson, who sadly passed away in 2012.

She said: “Tony always shared what a fantastic childhood he had in a Barnardo’s home, where he lived with this brothers from the age of six. The charity gave Tony, his brothers and so many other young children a home in their early years and they continue to provide fantastic support to so many children in the UK in so many different ways.

Clare Bowen is running the London Marathon for Parkinson's UK and the Family Holiday Association.Clare Bowen is running the London Marathon for Parkinson's UK and the Family Holiday Association.

“We are both extremely busy people and the dedication that goes in to training is really hard, but we know how amazing the day will be and how much the money we raise can make a difference.”

To sponsor the pair visit

• Clare Bowen got a bit of a shock when securing a place in the ballot back in October and said she ‘practically passed out’ on her first mile.

But Clare, who moved to Stevenage a year ago, has been racking up the miles ever since and joined running club Stevenage Striders for extra motivation.

She is raising money for Parkinson’s UK, a cause she says is close to her heart, and the Family Holiday Association.

Ian Ruffles, pictured with his son Lennon, is running the London Marathon for Keech Hospice Care.Ian Ruffles, pictured with his son Lennon, is running the London Marathon for Keech Hospice Care.

Clare said: “I can’t thank the Stevenage Striders enough – they have been fantastic with motivation when you don’t think you can go any further and handy tips and advice.

“But through it all – a lot of determination, a lot pain and lots and lots of support from friends and family – I am looking forward to the big day.”

Visit or search for ‘Clare Bowen’ on the home page to donate.

• Ian Ruffles from Walkern is running for Keech Hospice Care, which has provided vital care and support for his son Lennon and the whole family for the past eight years.

The charity provides respite for the family and in times of need round-the-clock care for 11-year-old Lennon, who is deaf, mute and partially-sighted with a range of life-limiting medical conditions.

Dad Ian, 39, said: “Life is tough, it will never be easy. But with the help and support of Keech Hospice Care our life is made that bit easier.

“I am running the London Marathon for Keech to say ‘thank you’ and knowing how the money I raise will be spent and the vital work that Keech provide for many other families in similar situations to ourselves will help me.”

To donate visit


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other The Comet visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by The Comet staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique The Comet account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

A volunteer team of staff and sixth formers from Stevenage’s Marriotts School has returned from a life-changing trip to help children in the West African country of The Gambia.


The A1’s northbound carriageway is still closed north of Baldock Services after one lorry rear-ended a second near Biggleswade – with traffic stationary all the way back to Junction 8 for Stevenage.


Tributes have been paid to a former mayor of Arlesey and prominent Letchworth figure who died on Sunday, aged 85.


A man is being treated for serious head and leg injuries after a crash involving two lorries on the A1 near Biggleswade.

Most read stories


Show Job Lists

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Read the The Comet e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter