Runners race London Marathon for a host of good causes

Peter Dewhurst and Kirsty Heber-Smith with Morgan Sharpe

Peter Dewhurst and Kirsty Heber-Smith with Morgan Sharpe

First published in News

MARATHON runners from across Swindon will toe the line tomorrow at the 34th London Marathon, with warm weather forecast for across the capital.

Kirsty Heber-Smith and Pete Dewhirst, who met through local running group Shin Splints, will be taking on the 26-mile challenge for Goldenhar UK which supports youngsters like Morgan Sharpe who has the rare congenital defect.

Another of the thousands raising money will be Jennifer Merritt, 28, of Common Platt, who is running for Multiple Sclerosis Trust.

Just four week before she was due to take her wedding vows in May 2011, Jennifer suddenly went numb from the waist down.

By October and after persisting symptoms – mostly odd, uncomfortable sensations – the then 26-year-old was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, throwing her life off course.

Now the business analyst at Nationwide has gone through remission and even though she could be struck by an attack at any time in the future, she strives to put her fears aside each day and instead spends her time much more productively.

“It’s been tough,” she said. “I did have some niggles during and since the Bath Half in March because I was running a little too hard, when it should have been at my marathon race pace.

“My morale has been quite low during training over the past few weeks, so I have been trying to focus on why I am doing it.

“The main reason is to prove to myself I can get through this. It’s been a three-year journey and I have come from doing 10 kilometres races and half marathons.”

Andy Sears, a member of Highworth Running Cub and joint owner of Andrews Butchers, who have branches in Highworth, Wootton Bassett and Marlborough, will be running his fourth London Marathon hoping for a big personal best.

Meanwhile, Gary Tubb, 52,of Walcot, will put his strength and stamina to the test as he covers 26 miles for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. He wants to ensure other children receive the care his son Ben did, who had juvenile dermatomyositis.

Matt Jones, 33, a self-employed tiler from Copse Avenue will be going into tomorrow’s race with legs more tired than many others after running the Paris Marathon last Sunday.

He is lining up in Greenwich, a week after his trek around Paris, in aid of Age UK.

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