Thursday, 23 September 2021

Runners conquer capital in Marathon

A MAN from Nettlebed ran through the pain barrier to complete the London Marathon on Sunday after picking up an injury five miles in.

A MAN from Nettlebed ran through the pain barrier to complete the London Marathon on Sunday after picking up an injury five miles in.

Andrew Marlow, 54, forced himself to complete the next 20 or so miles despite suffering a calf strain on his left leg.

The property developer finished the 26.2-mile course in about four hours 45 minutes.

Mr Marlow said: “I had a great day but finished slower then I was planning. I injured my calf after the fourth or fifth mile and the rest was something of a struggle and a bit uncomfortable.

“I just felt it pop so that made it harder. It was bloody painful but there was no way I was not doing it. It was an amazing race to do, with a wonderful atmosphere.”

Mr Marlow, who is married to Helma, said the “extraordinary” crowds helped keep him going despite his injury. “They spur you on,” he said. “People could see I was struggling a bit but the support was great.”

After the race, Mr Marlow visited the runners’ reception for the NSPCC, the charity he raised almost £2,000 for. He added: “There was food and tea and it was incredible.”

Personal trainer and Henley Standard columnist Emma-Jane Taylor, from Binfield Heath, says the event has inspired her to try the New York marathon in the future.

“It was brilliant, I loved it,” she said. “The atmosphere from all the people running it and all the support just make it very special. It makes you feel very proud to be British and proud to be involved in it.”

Ms Taylor completed the race in four hours and 45 minutes. She said: “I kept a steady pace from start to finish. I kept going and enjoyed seeing the sights. Tower Bridge was really special and very atmospheric. From start to finish it was brilliant.”

She raised more than £3,500 for Whizz-kidz, a disabled children’s charity, and after the race she met some of the children the charity works with.

“It was emotional, I cried my eyes out,” she said. “At the end of the day it’s something you can’t begin to understand, it’s just emotional. The children were lovely.”

Annette March, 27, who runs florists White Gdn in Hart Street, Henley, completed the race in four hours and 46 minutes. She was also running for Whizz-kidz.

“I’ve raised £2,000 for the charity and I did everything I wanted to do,” she said. “I hope to keep raising money for the charity – it does a lot for young people.”

Miss March described the atmosphere on the day as “amazing”, saying: “There were people who did not know me shouting, saying ‘go on’. Everyone was shouting your name.

“From 18 miles onwards it was difficult, you go over Tower Bridge and you almost want to stop and take a photo. It’s huge and you almost don’t realise how big it is until you’re running. The last mile-and-a-half they start counting down the distance to the end.”

She added: “It’s hard but it’s a good race to run. I would definitely recommend for people to do it because it’s a fantastic experience. It was everything I hoped and more — a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Kate Thomas, 23, who lives in Henley, said she found the second half of the race more painful than the first. She finished in four hours 54 minutes, inside her target time of five hours.

Miss Thomas, a marketing assistant for Brakspear, said: “It was amazing. I loved the first half of it because the atmosphere was incredible but by 18 miles the pain started to come in.

“I don’t really remember about mile 17 to 22 but 22 onwards was when you started counting down. I saw my mum and brother at mile 17, which kept me going.”

Miss Thomas raised £1,750 for Sue Ryder, which will be matched by her employer. She met fellow Henley resident Gary Boys on the train to London on Sunday morning.

Mr Boys, 42, was running in memory of his partner Claire Peacock who died after suffering a brain aneurysm in a shopping centre car park in Aylesbury in March 2014.

He was running in aid of the NSPCC because Ms Peacock, a mother-of-two, was a social worker for Buckinghamshire County Council. He raised almost £6,000.

Mr Boys said: “The amount of people who have supported me in Henley and helped raise money was a great piece of community spirit.

“Claire would think I was mad. It was emotional. At some points I came close to crying because I thought about her and why I was doing it.”

Mr Boys had set himself a target of six hours to finish the race and came in at five hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds. “I’m more pleased with the amount of money raised,” said Mr Boys, who is originally from London. “All the Londoners came out and their encouragement was fantastic.

“You get out there and people were willing you on especially in the hardest parts of the race, which for me was in miles 14 to 20.”

Laura Reineke, 43, of Berkshire Road, Henley, raised more than £4,000 for Parkinson’s UK.

She completed the race in five hours and 40 minutes but Mrs Reineke was not concerned about her time.

“I’m happy to finish and get my medal,” she said. “It was something I thought I should do before I could not do it anymore. I had to dig deep to make the finish but I did it and I got a massive medal which makes it worth it.”

Mrs Reineke’s father Terry Dudeney, a former GP in Henley, is in charge of fund-raising for the Henley branch of the charity.

Sarah Blomfield, 45, of New Road, Shiplake, raised £8,000 for the Epilepsy Society after her 10-year-old daughter Lucy was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy last year. She completed the race, her first ever marathon, in three hours and 33 minutes.

Mrs Blomfield, who has two other children with her husband David, said: “The crowd and the atmosphere were unforgettable.

“I’m feeling a bit black and blue but I’m elated with my time. The event means so much to so many people. There is such incredible support. It’s very emotional with a lot of people raising money for loved ones and causes close to their hearts.”

Veteran marathon runner Carrie Hoskins, 48, of Watermans Road, Henley, has run more than 10 marathons. She usually represents her club Reading Roadrunners but this year was also raising money for Cancer Research UK.

Mrs Hoskins was running in memory of Terry Adby, who used to run The Hockey Shop in Reading Road. He moved to Dorset about 10 years ago but died suddenly from cancer last year.

“I’ve raised about £500 for the charity,” she said. “Terry was very fit and was a member of Henley Hockey Club. There are a lot of people who would know him and I was running in his memory.

“The race was absolutely brilliant. I started to cramp at 18 miles and the last eight were quite hard. I had to dig deep but they crowd help get you through — it’s amazing.”

Martina Swinburn, 45, of Western Road, Henley, completed the event in four hours and 56 minutes. She managed to complete the race despite twisting her ankle on a discarded water bottle nine miles into the race.

Mrs Swinburn, a counsellor and psychotherapist, said: “I had to stop and then get mentally back on the road. A sticking point came at around 15 miles and it lasted quite a few miles but the crowd and atmosphere keep you going.”

During the run Mrs Swinburn saw her family six times. Her husband Jon was with their 14-year-old son James and 11-year-old daughter Caitlin holding an inflatable banana and ice-cream. She added: “It’s really hard but the support was unbelievable. The crowd was fantastic and it was the most amazing experience.”

Former Olympic rower Toby Garbett, 39, of Manor Road, Henley, ran the race dressed as a cheetah for the 21st Century Legacy Trust.

The former Leander oarsman visits schools across the UK for the charity and last year one school decided he should do the race as a cheetah.

“I’ve raised £1,200 for them so far,” Mr Garbett said. “The reality is I have not done much training for running due to injury so I have to say it was quite painful from 12km onwards. I was very pleased to get under the three hour mark, which I did not think was possible. So I was quite pleased with the result.” Elliot Rosen, 37, of Reading Road, Henley, raised almost £2,700 for Starlight Children’s Foundation.

He said: “I’m really proud with what I have achieved and I’m happy to raise so much money for the charity. It’s an incredible experience. The crowd was amazing. When hundreds of thousands of people are shouting your name for hours it is pretty motivational.”

Geologist Chris Leppard, 36, from Wargrave, ran the marathon in a personal best time of three hours, five minutes and 14 seconds, shaving two-and-a-half minutes off his previous best.

He said: “I went out to try and do sub three hours and after the half way point I was still on course but it was a bit of a big ask for me. Taking eight minutes off my personal best was just too much but I’m still over the moon with three hours, five minutes.”

Jenny Brown, 40, of Niagara Road, Henley, raised almost £1,000 for the Mental Health Foundation. She shaved 10 minutes off her best marathon time in what was her third race. “I was really, really surprised by the time,” she said. “I ran a personal best of three hours, 33 minutes and 52 seconds.”

She added: “I just love everything about the marathon, the atmosphere, the support, it’s a fabulous day.”

Financial analyst Lizzy Phillips, 28, from Caversham, raised almost £2,000 for The Brooke, an animal charity that works to improve the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in the world’s poorest communities. She completed the marathon in just over five hours.

Miss Phillips said: “You’re prepared for it to be tough but when you get to the last few miles it really is tough and I was willing the mile markers to come along.”

She added: “The atmosphere was brilliant. I saw one man DJ-ing on his balcony — you would not get that anywhere else.”

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