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
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.”
Carolyn is one of more than 30 runners representing the Herts-based Willow Foundation in the marathon.
You can sponsor her at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/WillowVolunteerCarolyn.
• 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.
Ed is joining a team of runners called Team Brandon who are all rasing cash for the charity.
You can support him by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Edward-Hare1.
• 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.
“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 www.justgiving.com/fundraising/michelle-selby2.
• 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.
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 uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Cbowen90 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 justgiving.com/fundraising/IanRuffles.