London Marathon: Here we come!

In just over five weeks time 35,000 runners will be converging on the capital for the 26th running of the London Marathon. Readers from Comet country will be playing their part, raising thousands of pounds for charity as they pound the streets on Sunday

In just over five weeks' time 35,000 runners will be converging on the capital for the 26th running of the London Marathon. Readers from Comet country will be playing their part, raising thousands of pounds for charity as they pound the streets on Sunday April 23. Here we look at some of the stories behind the competitors

THE pain of running a marathon will be nothing compared to the agony and trauma Philip Alum has gone through in recent years.

Mr Alum, from Shillington, will launch himself into the unknown at the London Marathon on April 23 after breaking his back in a horse-riding accident in the Army and almost losing his wife and daughter a year ago.

As a member of the Household Cavalry, Mr Allum, 35, was a highly qualified horseman. That was until April 24, 1997, when he was warming up a horse named Vulcan at his camp in Germany.


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The pair had known each other for years. But they fell out when Mr Allum was sent flying and landed so hard on his back that his spine was impacted in three places.

He was almost paralysed and after three years of treatment he was medically discharged from the Army and retrained as a propulsion technician with Astrium in Stevenage.

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A year ago his life was shattered again when his wife Julie almost died while giving birth to their daughter Hollie.

Mrs Allum needed six litres of blood in half an hour to save her life while Hollie was so close to death a doctor told the couple: "I would be very surprised if she made it through the night".

With the help of the doctors at Lister Hospital and Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London, Hollie pulled through despite suffering a respiratory arrest when her heart stopped. She will need a kidney transplant during the next five years.

Last October, Mr Allum decided he would get fit again and raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital in a debt of gratitude for saving his daughter's life.

"I had been through hell twice. The first was when I fell off a horse and it took me two years to walk again and then a year ago when Julie and Hollie almost died. Both events inspired me to get fit and run the London Marathon," said Mr Allum of Bryant's Close.

"I wanted to do something for the hospital that had done so much for Hollie and the marathon was my goal.

"Since October I have been training five days a week. I'm up at 4.45 every morning, feed Hollie and then I'm out running. It was tough at first but after losing a bit of weight and getting fit I am really looking forward to the race.

"I want to do the New York Marathon on my 40th birthday and do as much as I can for Great Ormond Street Hospital."

You can sponsor Mr Allum at Shillington village store in the High Road, at the Musgrave Arms, Apsley End Road, or call Julie on 07747683603.

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