THIS weekend will see approximately 35,000 people join forces to raise money for charitable causes at the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Among those taking the challenge are a number of Hampshire residents, who all have their own special reasons for attempting the 26.2 mile course.
One of those is 41-year-old father of one Matthew Southey, of Riverside Gardens in Romsey, who will be running in support of Trinity Winchester, a shelter for the homeless that helps people rebuild their lives.
Matthew, who weighed in twenty stone before training started and suffers from Crohn’s disease and asthma, said he was inspired to run for the charity after seeing the work they do first hand.
He said: “When you are there you realise that no matter where you are in your life, it doesn’t take much for it all to go wrong and for you to find yourself where they are. There are young kids there and it is heart breaking.
“You would have to have a heart of stone not to throw yourself in to it.”
Nick Chadwick, 44, of St Marys Terrace in Twyford will run for Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, after his mother Jacqueline received a live-saving live liver transplant from his brother Andrew three years ago under their care.
It is his first marathon, and he said: “It’s quite amazing really. It was between me and my brother, and my brother drew the short straw! So now it is my turn to do something and give something back to the hospital that helped us so much.”
Kings Worthy Football Club treasurer, 42 year old James Marshall, of Lovedon Lane, is aiming to raise £1000 for DEBRA, a national charity that work on behalf of people in the UK with the genetic skin blistering condition Epidermolysis Bullosa.
The father of two said: “It’s ghastly. I know a couple of people through work who have had children with this and myself and my colleagues have supported the charity in the past.”
Parents of cystic Fibrosis sufferer and Tichborne resident Emma Stewart, 33, were told she would not live past her seventh birthday, and she will take on the mammoth course in hopes of inspiring people like her.
In 2003 the sports teacher was the first woman with the illness to run the marathon, raising £17,000 for the CF Trust.
She said: “I want to inspire all cystic fibrosis families and show them that with a fair share of determination and sacrifice anyone with cystic fibrosis can achieve anything they put their mind to.”
Biology teacher at Peter Symonds College, Louise Porter, will run with her partner Johnny for bowel cancer charity GUTS, in memory of his mother who died of the disease in 2012.
Retired geography teacher from Perins School, Michael Clarke, wants to raise funds to build a bridge in Ghana, and Dee Atyeo, 47, of Durley is running for dementia charity ARUK. Chandler’s Ford resident, 21 year old Henry Rodda, is aiming to complete the course in under four hours to raise money for Action for M.E. His girlfriend has suffered from the condition since the age of 12.
Born and raised Wintonian Keith Miller, 45, will also run for a loved one, after his wife Beatriz was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. He will run in a Southampton football shirt, despite being an avid Portsmouth fan, and has already raised £2,000 towards his £2,500 target.
And finally, former junior GB rower Fergus Graham, of Whitchurch, aims to raise £5,000 in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK after his uncle Jamie was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at just 59 years old.
Search online to donate to any of these charities.