Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Marathon runners conquer the capital

Marathon runners conquer the capital

A FORMER deputy mayor of Henley completed a personal goal by running the London Marathon.

Will Hamilton was among more than 50,000 people to take part in the iconic 26.2-mile race around the capital on Sunday.

He had made a promise to compete in the event two years ago and finished in five hours and 45 minutes.

Town councillor Hamilton has already passed his £5,000 fund-raising target for the Chiltern Centre for disabled children, which is not far from his home in Greys Road, Henley.

The 49-year-old Conservative was mayor-elect in 2017 and had planned to make the centre one of his three charities during his year of office but he was outvoted at the mayor-making ceremony and the role went to Kellie Hinton, of Henley Residents Group, instead.

Councillor Hamilton told friends and supporters he would raise the money by running the marathon instead but was unsuccessful when he applied via the ballot for last year’s race. This year he accepted a place that was secured by the centre.

He is a keen amateur swimmer and runner and began training in October after seeking advice from former Olympic skier Graham Bell, who lives in New Street, Henley.

On top of his daily “short run” at the gym at Phyllis Court Club, he regularly ran 10 or more miles along the towpath between Henley and Aston. He also received dietary and training advice from Leander Club’s chief coach Mark Banks and former club captain Ric Edgington.

Cllr Hamilton said: “It’s the most amazing experience I’ve ever been through, one to train and then to get the place in October, get my weight down and get in a position where I could run that distance.

“To come round the corner to Tower Bridge and see it brimming with people was absolutely amazing. I had my name on the front and I had so many well-wishers saying ‘you can do this!’

“I did the first half in two hours and 40 minutes and I didn’t ‘hit the wall’ until mile 23. Crossing the line was a brilliant feeling.”

To support Cllr Hamilton, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com

Christie-Luke Jones, of New Street, Henley, took part in the marathon for the first time and crossed the line in four hours and 34 minutes.

He was running in aid of heart disease charity Cardiomyopathy UK, for whom he works as a community fund-raiser.

The 32-year-old has previously taken part in the Henley Half Marathon several times as well as the Tough Mudder obstacle course on the Culden Faw estate.

He runs 30 miles a week, mostly along the River Thames near Henley and Marlow. He also plays football with friends at the YMCA pitch off Lawson Road every week.

Mr Jones grew up with his parents Peter and Shirley, who live in Harpsden Road, and siblings Liam, Danny and Angelina. He attended Sacred Heart Primary School, Gillotts School and The Henley College and trained to be a teacher but ended up working in the charity sector.

He said: “The crowd was amazing, it was so much louder than you can imagine. I must have had my name shouted at me more than at any other race.

“I had to walk for half a mile and as soon as you do that the noise towards you gets even louder. It almost forces you to start running again which in retrospect was great.”

Mr Jones says he was slightly outside his target time but he was forced to contend with leg cramps towards the end of the race. He added that he isn’t planning to run the marathon again soon but could return in the future. He said: “On Sunday I said never again but you never know! But it won’t be for a good while.

“It was the first time I’d done it so it was unknown territory. I was aiming for four to four and a half hours but considering I got cramp 18 miles in I’m quite happy.

“After 18 miles it was really about keeping yourself going from mile to mile but it was a hell of an experience and the final bit down the Mall was amazing.”

To sponsor him, visit www.just

Georgina Kelly, 49, of Victoria Road, Wargrave, was running in her second London Marathon, 14 years after the last.

She was raising money for Nerve Tumours UK as her 15-year-old god-daugher Annabelle Ireland has neurofibramatosis, in which tumours grow on nerve tissue. Her first marathon for the charity was in 2005 and this time her husband Paul took part for the first time.

Mrs Kelly and her husband ran together, finishing in four hours and 24 minutes. She said: “It was an amazing day, the weather was perfect, not too hot and cloudy.

“I ran with my husband, which was great, and my father, sister and two kids Issy and Ottie were there too. It was just an awesome experience and the support was amazing.”

Mrs Kelly has raised more than £6,000, while £1,000 was made at a Mamma Mia! singalong night in Wargrave on Saturday.

To support her, visit www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/

Kelly Hargreaves took part in the marathon for the fourth time and narrowly missed out on a personal best.

Mrs Hargreaves previously took part in 2013, 2014 and last year. She crossed the line in five hours and nine minutes, just short of her record of five hours and six minutes, set last year.

The 52-year-old hairdresser, who lives in Newtown Gardens, Henley, with her husband Ian and daughter Millie, 18, was running for MACS, a charity supporting children born with under-developed eyes or none at all.

Mrs Hargraves said: “The crowds were good and so was the weather. I didn’t quite get the time I wanted but I’m happy because it was tough!

“I started off really well up until mile 16 when I felt a bit of a twinge in my calf.

“There’s something about running in London. The crowd is fantastic and gets you through it, everyone comes out.

“It’s gruelling but that won’t stop me applying next year for another go!”

Mrs Hargreaves has raised more than £2,200 for the charity, which also boasted the marathon’s oldest runner in 84-year-old Eileen Noble.

Mrs Hargreaves said: “I saw her at the beginning and she did it in a really good time. She was an inspiration for everyone.

“Everyone looks after each other at the marathon and I had a lot of family and friends there who I saw at every destination along the way. They were as tired as me at the end of the day!”

To sponsor Mrs Hargreaves, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/

Also taking part was Edward Andrews, son of Harpsden parish councillor Hilary Andrews. 

Mr Andrews, 21, who is currently studying history at the University of Edinburgh, was running his first marathon after recently completing the Coventry half marathon with his father Charles and brother Alex.

He was raising funds for the Teapot Trust, a charity providing art therapy in hospitals and hospices for children suffering chronic conditions, which was launched by a family friend. He crossed the line in four hours and 15 minutes.

Mr Andrews said: “It was a bit harder than I expected, I struggled after 17 miles and was a bit stop-start. I was aiming for a bit quicker but I’m not too bothered and I’m quite impressed that I did it.

“It was a really good atmosphere with lots of support. I had my name on my top so there were lots of people shouting it.

“You never know, I might get another go at it and try to do sub-four hours.”

To support Mr Andrews, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/

Ulla Hughey, from Henley, ran the marathon in four hours and 18 minutes.

Mrs Hughey, 47, was raising money for Berkshire MS Therapy Centre and it was her third different marathon, having run Paris in 2017 and Copenhagen last year.

The broker, who lives with her husband Carl in Marmion Road, said: “It was amazing, I loved every minute of it. It’s the biggest marathon in the world. I guess my first marathon will always be special, which was Paris, but this one was fantastic, very well organised and a really good event.

“I’m really pleased with my time. I did four hours and 14 minutes last year so I was only four minutes off. I wasn’t expecting that because I hadn’t done as much training this year.

“I was really chuffed, although it would have been nice to beat my personal best! I think the next one on my list would be New York.”

Mrs Hughey has already raised more than £2,100 for the centre. To donate visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/

Chris Walker also ran the marathon for the first time and finished in four hours and eight minutes.

Mr Walker, from Goring Heath, was one of 500 people competing in the event for British Heart Foundation and helped raise £700,000 for the charity.

He made £2,200 himself and says he decided to take part as both of his grandfathers have pacemakers.

Mr Walker said: “Taking part in the London Marathon was a huge challenge and an incredible experience. The atmosphere on the day was electric and I was proud to be a BHF champion for such an iconic event. Knowing I was running for a wonderful charity made me determined to succeed. 

“It was amazing to have everyone there cheering me on and to know that my sponsorship money will help the BHF raise vital funds for life saving research which will help make a difference to over seven million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases.”

Former Watlington parish councillor Liz Winton completed her fifth London Marathon in a personal best time of four hours and 55 minutes.

Mrs Winton was running in aid of the Save the Rhino conservation charity for the fourth time and wore a 10kg rhino suit.

The mother-of-three, 45, who lives and works in the town, took part in the 230km For Rangers Ultra endurance challenge in Kenya last summer, which raised £3,500 for the charity.

The suit was one of more than a dozen owned by the charity.

Mrs Winton said: “It was a great experience as usual and lots of fun. It was a bit chilly on the start line so I liked being inside the suit then. There was lots of cheering of ‘rhino’ from the crowds and I did a personal best.

“It’s like a party atmosphere, although I didn’t get to see an awful lot. There’s music, food and everybody is in a good mood.”

Mrs Winton hopes to raise £2,500. To sponsor her, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com

David Dibben ran his second ever marathon just a year after winning his first.

The 70-year-old, of Winterberry Way, Caversham, took up running seriously after retiring as a sub-editor on the Daily Mirror in 2010 and joined the Reading Roadrunners along with his wife Jill, who is now the treasurer.

Mr Dibben won the 55- to 69-year-old age group at the Brighton Marathon last year with a time of three hours and 43 minutes.

This qualified him for the Age Group Masters Invitation Challenge in Chester against a team from the “Celtic nations” of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man in October but he couldn’t take part due to injury.

His Brighton win also qualified him for this year’s London Marathon and he recovered enough to run, finishing in three hours and 56 minutes. That time means he has comfortably qualified to run in a range of other major marathons around the world, including New York, Boston and Tokyo. 

Mr Dibben said: “I felt the wheels come off in the last two miles but I beat my target! I probably won’t go to the expense of going somewhere like Tokyo or New York, the only one I might consider is Berlin.

“The noise was deafening all the way round, I couldn’t hear my own friends and supporters. I’m glad I did it and everyone else in our club thinks it’s marvellous.

“It’s wonderful to see your supporters. They are all ready to cheer you on and it carries you round.”

Lauren Stodolnic ran in this year’s marathon just six months after taking up running.

The event was Laura’s first race and she finished in just over seven hours.

The 19-year-old former Henley College and Langtree School student has raised more than £1,700 for Disability Snowsport UK.

She is hoping to study economics at university from September.

Miss Stodolnic said: “It was very tough at certain points, but an amazing experience. There was a great atmosphere around the Cutty Sark, seeing my family at Canary Wharf, and the last 600 metres were fantastic. I would definitely like to do it again, but maybe in a few years time!”

Charlotte Stanton, a former pupil of the Oratory Preparatory School in Goring Heath and Queen Anne’s School in Caversham, took part in the event for the first time.

The 19-year-old, who studies sport, coaching and physical education at Oxford Brookes University, finished in four hours and 19 minutes. She has previously run the Reading and Oxford half marathons and had been training by running three times a week. She said she had always wanted to run the London Marathon before turning 20.

Charlotte, who lives in North Stoke with her parents Andrew and Angela and brother Harry, 21, said: “It was an amazing experience and a great day and I’m really pleased with my time because it was my first marathon.

“There were thousands of people, the streets were lined about six people deep and they were always supporting you and shouting your name even though they didn’t know you.

“I had my parents, brother, cousins and university friends who were all dotted around the course at different points. That was really helpful.

“I definitely want to do more but probably not for a while. It has motivated and inspired me to do more marathons.”

Charlotte hopes to raise £2,000 for Children with Cancer UK. To sponsor her, visit uk.virginmoney

Paloma Crayford took part in her first London Marathon and fourth marathon overall since turning 50.

The 52-year-old housewife, who lives in Reades Lane, Sonning Common with husband Malcolm and their daughters Anna, 11, and Maia, 12, has previously run in Brighton and Malaga in 2017 and Liverpool last year.

She also planned to do Venice but was sidelined by a hernia.

Mrs Crayford got in to London through the marshals’ ballot as she marshals through Reading Roadrunners, of which she is a member.

She was supported by her family, with her daughters carrying a homemade sign.

Mrs Crayford finished in four hours and four minutes, a new personal best, and is aiming to go sub-four hours at the Manchester marathon next year. She said: “We were very lucky with London because the support from the crowd was just amazing and the temperature was superb — you couldn’t have asked for better conditions. My performance wasn’t bad — looking at my split, I can see I kept a steady pace.

“It’s quite easy because there’s lots in the crowd to distract you and you can read all the banners as you go past. I could probably have gone a bit faster but it’s easy to say that in hindsight.

“I saw my family cheering me on at about the 19th mile and I honestly can’t remember where in London that was because it all becomes a blur.

“You notice the big landmarks but most of the time you’re just focusing on keeping going and don’t really take in your surroundings.”

Mrs Crayford is going to apply for London again as she enjoyed it so much and hopes to run one or two marathons every year for as long as she can.

Seb and Loretta Briggs, from Emmer Green, also ran the marathon. The couple, who have been members of Reading Roadrunners for five years, finished in two hours and 37 minutes and three hours and 32 minutes, respectively.

Mr Briggs, who was competing at London for the third time, said: “The crowds and the atmosphere in London are brilliant and make it a really good day out.

“I’m from London so it’s nice to run round where I used to live.

“One of the big things is the support of the club and how successful Reading Roadrunners have been over the last few years. It’s a really nice communal atmosphere with everyone encouraging each other to get on and achieve.”

Alex Austin ran the marathon in support of Parkinson’s UK as his 90-year-old grandmother Julie Austin has the disease.

Mr Austin, 33, who lives in Deanfield Avenue with his father Cliff, the former town sergeant, finished in three hours and 53 minutes and was part of Parkinson’s UK’s team of 240 runners.

He raised more than £2,000 which will fund the charity’s research in to treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

Mr Austin said: “My grandmother had a fall in January and has been in hospital for three months so it was a bit of an emotional training process.

“I also picked up an injury training so up until last week I was unsure if I was even going to run it. It was my fourth marathon and I wanted to break the four hour barrier but had a one per cent expectation of actually doing it.”

To donate to Mr Austin visit www.virginmoneygiving.com

Kate Hayden, from Watlington, took part in the marathon for the first time and crossed the line in four hours and 12 minutes.

The 39-year-old full-time mother was taking part for The Children’s Society and has raised £4,200. She started running six years ago after her first child was born but it was her first time at this distance.

She said: “Parts of the course were really gruelling but thanks to the cheering crowds I was able to keep going through the hardest miles.” 

To donate visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=KateHayden1&

Jonathan Allan ran the marathon after undergoing two operations to save his eyesight after suffering a detached retina.

Mr Allan from Shiplake, took part alongside surgeon Anthony O’Driscoll, who carried out the second procedure.

He finished in three hours and 54 minutes, while Mr O’Driscoll crossed the line in four hours and 42 minutes.

Simon Rumsby, an assistant manager at the Crooked Billet pub and restaurant in Stoke Row, also took part and completed the course in four hours and five minutes.

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