London Marathon 2016: Stevenage runners share their stories ahead of tomorrow’s race

Tower Bridge is one of the landmarks on the London Marathon route, which around 38,000 will pass bef

Tower Bridge is one of the landmarks on the London Marathon route, which around 38,000 will pass before the halfway mark. - Credit: Archant

This time tomorrow there will be thousands of runners pounding the streets of the capital, and the Comet has spoken to a number of Stevenage runners about why they are taking on the London Marathon challenge.

Student paramedic Joanne Roxburgh, from Stevenage, is set to run the London Marathon to raise money

Student paramedic Joanne Roxburgh, from Stevenage, is set to run the London Marathon to raise money for Herts Air Ambulance. - Credit: Archant

• Junior paramedic Joanne Roxburgh, 24, from Stevenage will be running to support the work of Herts Air Ambulance.

Joanne has taken part in two marathons already – but despite also being a gym and swimming instructor, she has still found the training tough.

“I have chosen to support Herts Air Ambulance as I have seen first hand the amazing job they do and want them to continue offering their amazing services,” she said.

Angela Byrne from the charity said they were wishing all the runners good luck, and thanked everyone for their support.

Rob Wright

Rob Wright - Credit: Archant


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Visit www.justgiving.com/Joanne-Roxburgh-Air-Ambulance to support Joanne.

• Rob Wright from Stevenage is running for Macmillan Cancer Support after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Rob underwent extensive chemotherapy to treat tumours in his lungs and is now cancer free. While he was ill, Macmillan offered extensive help, support and advice to Rob and his wife to help explain procedures and deal with side effects. Rob said: “I can now look forward to watching my children grow up and help to raise money to give something back to such a worthy charity.” Rob is a member of Fairlands Valley Spartans running club.

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To sponsor Rob, search for Rob Wright16 at www.justgiving.com.

• A 30-year-old woman from Stevenage whose only other race experience involved taking a shortcut is fully committed to the 26.2-mile challenge.

Kelly Evans, picture after completing the 20.1-mile Kingston Breakfast Run, is running the London Ma

Kelly Evans, picture after completing the 20.1-mile Kingston Breakfast Run, is running the London Marathon for the first time. - Credit: Archant

Kelly Evans, a former student at Marriotts School, had a bit of a shock when she got a place through the ballot in October.

She said: “Before I started training for this marathon, the extent of my running event experience was a 5.6km run around Battersea Park around six years ago where, about 2km in, I was struggling to keep up with the other runners and so I took a shortcut across the park.

“Rather embarrassingly, it still took me about 45 minutes to reach the finish line!”

But Kelly, who has run more than 500 miles since the start of October including two official half marathons and the 20.1-mile Kingston Breakfast Run as part of her training, added: “I would like to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research UK and I promise not to take any shortcuts on Sunday!”

John-and-Daisy-Mould

To support Kelly visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/kellysuzanne.

• A brother and sister from Stevenage who are both devoting their lives to teaching are running for two separate worthy causes.

John Mould – who teaches at the town’s Peartree Spring Primary School – has continued to train for the big day despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis this year.

The 28-year-old is running money for The Children’s Trust, a charity which supports children with and recovering from brain injuries.

Ian Alexander at the finish line of the Fairlands Valley Challenge marathon.

Ian Alexander at the finish line of the Fairlands Valley Challenge marathon. - Credit: Archant

Sister Daisy Mould – who is in her last month of training to be a teacher before starting at Lodge Farm Primary School in Stevenage – is running for the Garden House Hospice in Letchworth.

The 21-year-old has volunteered for the hospice – which cares for people with a terminal diagnosis – for the past five years by working at the charity shop in Stevenage.

“When a family friend required the care of the hospice in 2011 the team of workers could not do enough to support our whole family, even going to the extent of hosting a wedding in the hospice day room,” she said.

“After seeing the work that goes into helping the hospice survive, I felt I must give back to a charity that has given me so much.

Mari McEleney

Mari McEleney - Credit: Archant

“Alongside this weekly volunteering I have also participated in many fundraising events such as sponsored swims and the Starlight Walk with other members of my family.”

If you would like to support either of the siblings search for John Mould or Daisy Mould on www.justgiving.com.

• Keen Stevenage runner Ian Alexander will run his first ever London Marathon this year to raise funds for The Children’s Trust – a charity which supports children who have brain injuries.

Ian has completed many half marathons and ran last year’s Stevenage Marathon in which he unfortunately got lost, but he is looking forward to the challenge of completing his first London race.

Caroline Swan from Stevenage is running the London Marathon for TACT.

Caroline Swan from Stevenage is running the London Marathon for TACT. - Credit: Archant

The 54-year-old said: “I think it’s a very good idea to run for The Children’s Trust because it’s a charity for children with brain injuries.

“Children are the next generation and if we can do something to help them then we’re doing a great job.”

Ian aims to raise £3,000 and is a member of Fairlands Valley Spartans running club.

To sponsor him search for Ian Alexander at www.justgiving.com.

Kerry White, picture after completing the Vitality North London Half Marathon, is running the London

Kerry White, picture after completing the Vitality North London Half Marathon, is running the London Marathon for the second year running. - Credit: Archant

• A mother of two will don a giant pink apple suit when she runs the marathon for the Stroke Association.

Mari McEleney is a specialist cardiac nurse at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital and has been running for six years. This will be her ninth London Marathon.

Pink Lady apples has selected the Stroke Association to benefit from money raised by its runners, and this is their 10th year supporting the marathon.

Mari, 39, said: “I’m no stranger to stroke as my grandparents both sadly passed away after a stroke in their 90s.

Geoff Millman is hoping to complete the marathon in under five hours.

Geoff Millman is hoping to complete the marathon in under five hours. - Credit: Archant

“I have been working extra shifts on the stroke wards at the hospital for the past nine months, and it’s only when you see many people struggling with a newly acquired disability that you realise how vulnerable they are – and just how cruel a stroke can be.”

To sponsor Mari, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com and search for MariMcEleney.

• A woman who has had to have hospital checks related to her heart after twice collapsing during training is determined to complete the distance for the first time in memory of her late husband.

Caroline Swan from Stevenage took up running just after Christmas and it has not been an easy journey.

Lisa Grey

Lisa Grey - Credit: Archant

The 40-year-old has collapsed twice while training and required hospital treatment on one occasion, yet still managed to complete her first half marathon six days later.

Caroline will be running for fostering and adoption charity The Adolescent and Children’s Trust, a cause she has chosen due to a friend of her daughter going into care and the death of her husband Marcus 10 years ago.

She said: “Since being widowed I have realised how hard it is to be a single parent and the obstacles one faces bringing up children alone.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/Caroline-Swan2 to donate.

• A Stevenage woman who ran her first marathon on the streets of London last year will be back there pounding the pavements on Sunday.

Kerry White is running the course again in aid of Alzheimer’s Society, a cause she supported a year ago alongside her serial marathon running dad Brian – who will be a spectator this time around.

Kerry, whose nan Edna Poore was diagnosed with dementia just over two years ago, said: “I’m raising money again for the Alzheimer’s Society as it means so much to me and my family.

“My nan struggles daily with the simplest of tasks, and without the help from the money we’ve raised there simply wouldn’t be the support and help she needs.”

About the race itself, the 30-year-old former Barclay School student added: “Taking on the London Marathon two years in a row is no easy task – especially as I now know how hard the last six miles really are!

“But on Sunday I will be buzzing with excitement and nerves as I join the start line in Greenwich.

“I’m hoping to beat last year’s time of 4hrs 8mins and enjoy every minute as I pass through the amazing crowds with the support from my family and friends.”

To donate to Kerry’s cause visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SupportKerry.

• Running in his 14th London Marathon, 62-year-old Geoff Millman is hoping to raise £1,500 for the Hertfordshire Community Foundation.

Geoff, a father-of-four who lives in Stevenage, said: “The charity helps families by giving short-term grants and also helps disabled sports.

“I chose this cause because it is a local charity and all money raised will stay within the area.”

Geoff, who will be supported by his family on the day, hopes to finish the marathon in under five hours.

To sponsor Geoff, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/GeoffreyMillman.

• Lisa Gray – a member of Stevenage running club Fairlands Valley Spartans – will be running her first London Marathon this year.

The 45-year-old mum from Stevenage, who works as a solicitor, said: “I’m used to running much shorter distances including 10km mid-week leagues and local 10km races, as well as many of the great regular Spartan organised events.

“A couple of years ago I ran three marathons in three months and I have also run the Great North Run.

“I ran the 16-mile, very tough, cross country Ashridge Boundary Run last month as part of my training for the London Marathon.

“I am very enthusiastic about the Spartans – a great club which welcomes and nurtures all abilities.”

Lisa is raising money for the National Autistic Society and is asking for donations to be made directly to the charity via www.autism.org.uk.

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