Marathon runners boost charities

AMONG the Masai warriors, knitting grandmas, running rhinos and serious competitors were a sprinkling of local runners pounding the capital's streets on Sunday.

AMONG the Masai warriors, knitting grandmas, running rhinos and serious competitors were a sprinkling of local runners pounding the capital's streets on Sunday.

As always the Flora London Marathon threw up a range of inspiring stories focussing on the good causes people were raising money for as well as the runners themselves many of whom had their own moving tales to tell.

For armchair viewers completing the running feat seems beyond impossible but as the numbers who enter prove - anyone can do it.

Among home-grown athletes were:

Gorleston woman, Nicola Sturzaker, whose bid to run the London marathon we featured in February is putting her feet up after completing the challenge in just 3hrs 26mins.

The osteopath and mother of two finished the marathon, her first, in great shape.

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“I've got a few blisters and the legs ache a little, but overall I'm in much better shape than I thought I would be,' said Nicola who was raising money for Spinal Research.

Nicola, who used to practise at the North Sea Medical Centre and the Millwood Medical Centre in Gorleston is now based in Streatham, south London, but is still a regular visitor to the area, where her parents still live. Her father, Hugh Sturzaker, was, until recently, a consultant surgeon at the James Paget Hospital.

“The crowds were great and the rain was actually a big help in cooling down. I had a fantastic time and I'm now wondering about going for the New York marathon,” she added.

You can still sponsor Nicola and raise money for Spinal Research at:

Brandon Lewis, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth, completed the marathon on Sunday and raised more than £8,000 for the Variety Club along with his 64-year-old father.

He said: “Given that a few weeks ago I was struggling to run due to injury I am delighted that I was able to finish the marathon.

“The Variety Club does some fantastic work making a difference to the lives of children. For example, every Christmas they give over 3,000 toys to children who would otherwise have no present of any kind.”

Formed in 1949 the Variety Club has raised more than £170 million and made a real difference to children's lives throughout the UK.

Mother and daughter Dawn and Karly Clegg, from Winterton, were amongst 32,000 runners pounding the streets of the capital on Sunday. It was Dawn's first marathon, having watched Karly participate twice before. Both benefited from the training they had undertaken since January with the help of cyclist Peter, whose Sunday's mornings will never quite seem the same.

Dawn and Karly were running for the Charity Visually Impaired Children Taking Action and raised around £3000 so far. Both ran the marathon together and finished in a time of 5hrs37mins having enjoyed the experience and suffered no injuries. They were supported by Weatherfords, Expo, Kirklands, Loomes of Winterton and Winterton Fish and Chip shop.

Pat Brightman, from Ormesby St Michael, participated in her 13th London Marathon on Sunday and enjoyed the limelight being interviewed by the BBC at the Cutty Sark.

For the first time, Pat ran in fancy dress - as a Minnie Mouse - which attracted the interest of the television cameras as well as many other spectators along the route.

Pat trained exceptionally well this year and was pleased with her time of 5hrs 49mins - 10 minutes better than last year.

A veteran of this annual event - she has now completed 20 full marathons in total - with number 21 just around the corner with the Playtex Moonwalk on May 18.

After that her training will be directed towards the Women for Women Cycle expedition in November, when she will join celebrities Fern Britton and Charlie Dimmock cycling 250 miles around Cuba in five days.

More than £500 was raised at the Green Gate pub in Caister in honour of a Gorleston man who ran two marathons in a week.

Adrian Kent competed in the London Marathon on Sunday and the week before he ran the Paris marathon in three hours and 42 minutes. The fundraising evening included a raffle and games and the money will go towards Adrian's chosen marathon charities Cancer Research UK and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.