London Marathon 2015: Stevenage runners reflect after raising thousands for charity

A rather worried looking Nick Gill and running companion Kerry White together at the 19-mile mark.

A rather worried looking Nick Gill and running companion Kerry White together at the 19-mile mark. - Credit: Archant

Stevenage runners who came through hours of pain to bag themselves a precious London Marathon medal on Sunday have been reflecting on the day.

Comet news editor Nick Gill with Kerry and Brian White after the race.

Comet news editor Nick Gill with Kerry and Brian White after the race. - Credit: Archant

• Comet news editor Nick Gill crossed the line hand-in-hand with childhood friend Kerry White, who had been cheering him on two years ago just before he collapsed on the course.

The pair – who grew up together in Stevenage’s Lancaster Close – had chosen to run their own races despite both expecting to finish around the four-hour mark, but fate brought them together with just over 10 miles to go.

Nick, 26, had taken on the challenge for St John Ambulance after they came to his aid before the 18-mile point in 2013, following his collapse from dehydration.

While Kerry, who turns 30 on Friday, was running for the Alzheimer’s Society along with her dad Brian after her nan Edna Poore was diagnosed with the condition just over a year ago.

Barnwell School deputy head Matthew Roberts celebrates with his family after completing the marathon

Barnwell School deputy head Matthew Roberts celebrates with his family after completing the marathon. - Credit: Archant


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“It’s difficult to describe the sense of joy – and relief – I felt when crossing the line and feeling the weight of the medal around my neck,” said Nick, who completed the course in 4.08.59.

“The day was made extra special thanks to the cheering St John volunteers that are a constant throughout and running with Kerry – it was quite emotional to pass the point where I collapsed but comforting to have someone who had been there in 2013 by my side.”

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Kerry, who finished in 4.08.01, said: “I tried to relax, enjoy it and soak up the atmosphere but then at 15 miles when my quads started to hurt I thought: ‘can I do this?’ But seeing Nick was great and we agreed to finish together – and that’s exactly what we did!

“Turning to see Buckingham Palace was like a dream come true. I grabbed Nick’s hand and said: ‘Come on, we’ve done it’ – it was a very proud moment.

Barnwell School's Perumal Naicker celebrates with his family after completing the marathon.

Barnwell School's Perumal Naicker celebrates with his family after completing the marathon. - Credit: Archant

“I will definitely run another marathon, but next time I will know exactly what to expect.”

Kerry’s dad Brian, 60, who is a personal trainer and runs for Hitchin-based Team Trisports, completed his eighth London Marathon in 3.04.13 – the seventh quickest time in his age category.

He said: “After a long recovery from a serious back injury it was great to be back running the London Marathon and it brought back some good, and not so good, memories.

“The crowds once again were amazing and it does make a difference when you have your name on the running vest. Some portions such as the Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge were just an intense clamour of sound where you can’t distinguish any individual noise. A great day and congratulations to my daughter, Kerry, on her first marathon finish.”

Geoff Millman

Geoff Millman - Credit: Archant

Together Kerry and Brian have raised more than £3,700 for the Alzheimer’s Society, while Nick has passed the £1,400 mark for St John Ambulance.

• Two Stevenage teachers finished within two minutes of each other on Sunday, with one more keen than the other to repeat the feat.

Barnwell School’s Perumal Naicker and Matthew Roberts finished in 4.03.02 and 4.04.30, respectively.

Deputy head Matt, who was running for The Brain Tumour Charity after his mother-in-law died from the illness, said:

“For me the marathon was an amazing but hard experience.

“The atmosphere created by the spectators on the day was inspirational but I would particularly like to thank all of my family, friends and colleagues for their support, encouragement and donations to help me raise more than £1,100.

“I would consider running the marathon again, but not in the next few years!”

Perumal – who was representing Stevenage club Fairlands Valley Spartans – has raised more than £1,300 for SENSE, a charity which supports deafblind people.

Asked if he would do it agin, he added: “I would love to!”

• Running in his 13th London Marathon, 61-year-old Geoff Millman has raised about £1,000 for the Hertfordshire Community Foundation.

Geoff, of Benstede in Stevenage, crossed the finish line after 4.47.55 – half-an-hour quicker than his time last year.

Cheered on by his wife Belinda, four children and three-month-old grandson Thomas, Geoff was swept along by the crowd but hit ‘the wall’ with three miles to go.

He said: “I had some nerves at the beginning but, once the klaxon goes, you know what you have to do.

“I’m still planning on doing a 14th London Marathon, and I think I can equal this year’s time.”

The foundation helps people and companies wanting to make a donation to charity, by giving independent advice on charitable giving and grants, to make it as tax-efficient as possible.

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