Find out how to take on the TCS London Marathon for charity 
 
Adele Roberts at the Finish Line

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19-04-2024
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2024 Spirit of the London Marathon Award Winners announced

Brand-new recipients of the Spirit of the London Marathon Awards were announced today (Friday 19 April), reflecting the inclusivity of the TCS London Marathon ahead of the 2024 event on Sunday 21 April.

Adele Roberts, TV and radio personality, and Tom Durnin, the 2023 TCS London Marathon’s final finisher on The Mall, are the latest winners of the award, which was created in 2018 to celebrate individuals who demonstrate the unique spirit of the London Marathon. 

The new recipients, who both took part in last year’s TCS London Marathon, join a select list of individuals or groups who have embodied the spirit of the London Marathon over the 43 editions of the event to date. 
Adele and Tom showed that the Spirit of the London Marathon can shine through even in the most challenging times. Here are their stories.

Adele Roberts, 45, from Merseyside

Adele is best known as a broadcaster, reality TV personality and DJ, having spent 11 years hosting shows on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 1Xtra. She made her first TV appearance on Big Brother in 2002, followed by I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in 2019, and most recently this year on Dancing on Ice, where she finished in third place. 

Adele announced that she had been diagnosed with bowel cancer on her Radio 1 breakfast show in October 2021 and began her treatment the same month.,  In January 2022, Adele shared that a tumour had been removed, following chemotherapy and a stoma, before announcing that she had been given the all-clear and was cancer-free in June 2022.

A keen runner, Adele has completed three  London Marathons, running for charities including Heads Together and the Attitude Magazine Foundation. In 2023, less than a year after becoming cancer-free, she became the fastest woman to run the London Marathon with a stoma bag, finishing the race in 3:30:22, and achieving a Guinness World Record.

“I still can’t quite believe it! I’m absolutely buzzing and so honoured to be awarded a Spirit of the London Marathon Award,” said Adele. “In the past few years, I’ve come through one of the toughest times in my life, but one that ultimately led to one of the greatest – running the London Marathon. Three years ago, I attended the London Marathon as a spectator, a supporter, a cheerleader, a DJ and, as I’d found out two days before, as someone with bowel cancer. I’ll remember that marathon forever. 

“The 3rd of October 2021. That one wasn’t mine to run. I had the privilege of DJing at that year’s London Marathon and cheering on and supporting the incredible runners. They say that if you ever need to restore your faith in humanity, go to a marathon. The atmosphere at the London Marathon is incredible – it’s so special; strangers becoming friends and everyone thinking of and helping others. It was like medicine for me. My body was finding it hard by that point. It was shutting down. But in that atmosphere, in that magic, I knew I’d be OK.

“You go through so many emotions during the London Marathon. You go from feeling on top of the world and like you can achieve anything, to doubting yourself and thinking you’ll never finish. You also experience a range of emotions: seeing the other runners, hearing heartfelt exchanges, noticing the vast range of charities. Everyone has a special reason to run or an emotional story. Everyone has triumphed over adversity. Nobody is taking part in this alone. We’ve all been brought together, to run as one and get each other through.

“When I finished the 2023 TCS London Marathon, that’s when the emotion hit me and I burst out crying. I couldn’t comprehend what had just happened. All the dots had connected, all the stars had aligned – from hospital bed to the run of a lifetime, all within 18 months. It was a miracle. 

“So, to be awarded a Spirit of the London Marathon award for that very same run, is incredibly moving and I hope to inspire many more people to keep going and give running a go. It’s a fantastic event and I can’t wait to be back in the future.” 

Adele has recently released a new book – Personal Best: From Rock Bottom to the Top of the World – detailing her diagnosis with Bowel Cancer in October 2021, her subsequent recovery, and her love for the TCS London Marathon and all things running.

Tom During crossing the Finish Line

Tom Durnin, 36, from Banbury

Tom was the final official finisher of the 2023 TCS London Marathon, coming across the Finish Line on The Mall in a time of 8:10:58.

The result came just months after he was involved in a car crash in December 2022, leaving him with a broken arm and a bleed on the brain, but he still managed to fight his way through the 26.2-mile course.

Tom said he couldn’t do any training after his accident until March but was determined to finish the TCS London Marathon in support of his chosen charity Freddie’s Future, part of the Bone Cancer Research Trust.

Remarkably, the furthest Tom had run before Marathon Day was 10K, and he even got confused on the way round thinking that the Finish Line was coming up at the 24-mile mark, only to plough on and complete the final two miles.

“I’m not an athlete, so for the award to be given to somebody like me… I was never expecting this in a million years,” said Tom. “I know, at the time, there was a lot of hype around it, but to get a phone call a year later saying I’ve won this award – I was just like ‘woah!’. It’s a privilege, and it was completely unexpected. I hope it inspires others to see a 17-stone lad stood here with an award for the Spirit of the London Marathon, I don’t think anyone would expect that.

“It’s good that these awards go to people like me and I feel that’s what it’s all about, a personal best isn’t a number, it’s a feeling. I’m not getting this award because I’m the fastest, or because I was the best, it’s just to do with attitude and determination to complete something that you’ve started. I want to inspire people to just get out there, I’ve never really been an athlete, I’ve never been a runner, so my aim was always just to finish.

“From the accident to the 2023 TCS London Marathon I only did a couple of training sessions; I could never do any long runs, but I’d signed up to something, I was doing it for the charity, and I just had to get to that Finish Line. Even with all the people cheering at the end I didn’t even have the energy to lift my head up and lift my arms and thank anybody.”

After Tom hit the headlines for being the final finisher on The Mall, his fundraising reached more than £18,500 for local charity Freddie’s Future. 

“Freddie is a local lad who was diagnosed with cancer and went through 18 months of chemotherapy. The charity really does rely on the donations and the little things, even the smallest of donations are so important to them. Every time we refreshed the fundraising page there was more and more money in there, and it was just crazy. That [amount] is huge for the charity, and to get the recognition out there as well, because nobody would’ve ever heard of it outside of the local people.”

The 2023 winners will be presented with their awards at the 2024 TCS London Marathon Running Show in April.

Previous Spirit of the London Marathon Award winners include:

  • Aaron Plummer 
  • Anoosheh Ashoori
  • Barbara Ralph 
  • Charlie Dark 
  • Charlie Guenigault 
  • Chris Moon 
  • Claire Lomas 
  • Claude Umuhire 
  • Dave Heeley 
  • David Weir 
  • Deo Kato
  • Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen 
  • Elliott Brock
  • Fauja Singh 
  • Gina Little
  • Haroon Mota
  • Helen Williams 
  • James Ingham 
  • Jane Smith 
  • Jeremey Joseph
  • Jill Tyrell 
  • Jo Gennari 
  • Joyce Smith 
  • Kathrine Switzer
  • Laura Hughes 
  • Matthew Rees and David Wyeth 
  • Michael Watson 
  • North Kensington and Paddington Red Watch firefighters 
  • Scott Mitchell 
  • Steve Chalke MBE 
  • Paula Radcliffe 
  • Rhian Burke 
  • Roy Webber 
  • Simon Kindleysides 
  • Stephen Lawrence’s Team 
  • Tanni-Grey Thompson 
  • Team Kerr (David, Sandra and Aaron Kerr)
  • Vicky Lawrence
  • Zamzam Farah