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2021 Virgin Money London Marathon Stories


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Participant stories

  • After three unsuccessful rounds of IVF, Alistair and his wife, Jo, were excited when she became pregnant with a baby boy. After what had been a straightforward pregnancy for 41 weeks, the couple were devastated when their son, Hope, was delivered stillborn in September 2020.  The Scottish couple have raised more than £65,000 in his memory and Alistair will run his first-ever Virgin Money London Marathon for SiMBA, a charity that honours babies who have died, been stillborn or miscarried.
  • Claire and Wayne are running in memory of their daughter, Jade, who died in January 2021, aged just 10 days old. Jade, named after the midwife who delivered her, suffered Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) during childbirth, an event that resulted in significant brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation and limited blood flow to her brain. Wayne was unable to be present at the birth as both Claire and Wayne had tested positive for Covid-19 three days before their daughter was born. The couple are raising money for three organisations that helped care for Jade – Demelza Hospice Care for Children, Evelina London Children’s Hospital and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charity.
  • Londoner Eleanor is running her first Virgin Money London Marathon for Neuroblastoma UK in memory of her brother, Neil.  He died aged 14, a year before Eleanor was born, and would have turned 45 this year. She has loved training for her debut Virgin Money London Marathon and has documented her training throughout on @chasingele on Instagram. She is also one of the featured participants in the We Run Together campaign film. 
  • The father-of-two will be running the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon alongside a woman whose life he saved 13 years ago. Elliott was 29 when he donated bone marrow to an eight-year-old stranger called Vicky Lawrence, who had an aggressive form of bone cancer. Fast-forward to 2021, and Vicky has made a full recovery and is now a medical student and a good friend of the man who saved her life. The pair will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon alongside one another to raise money for the Anthony Nolan blood cancer charity.
  • Mum-of-two Louise was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2016, followed by basal cell carcinoma two years later, and a lung cancer diagnosis in early 2019. Previously a fit, non-smoker, Louise had a lung resection and then half her left lung removed. She credits running for helping her through her recovery and will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon for the first time in 2021, supporting this year’s Charity of the Year Macmillan. Louise and her family have been supported throughout all of her diagnoses by Macmillan and she is now a volunteer at their Horizon Centre in Brighton, where she received counselling throughout her treatment.
  • Rajinder Singh, the ‘Skipping Sikh’, was awarded an MBE for his services to health and fitness during the Covid-19 pandemic after raising more than £14,000 for the NHS by sharing videos of himself skipping on social media to encourage others to keep active during lockdown. This will be his first Virgin Money London Marathon and he is  raising money for Mencap.
  • Robin was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in early 2021 and has credited his new-found love of running with helping to turn his diagnosis around. After becoming a father in late 2020, Robin was shocked to be told by doctors he had to take regular medication and monitor his blood glucose levels to treat the diabetes. He soon started running and, with the help of medication, his diabetes is now in remission. He runs between 40K and 50K a week on the country trails of Norfolk with his dogs and is now looking forward to running the Virgin Money London Marathon for the first time with his young son and wife cheering him on.

Virtual participant stories

  • Ann-Marie was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2015 and thought her running days were behind her. However, after her initial treatment she eased her back into completing 5K and 10K events and decided that running and being active were still an important part of her life. Running has helped give her strength and perspective on the hardest days. She will be taking part in the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon with her friend Angie, raising money for the charity North London Hospice, which cared for eight of her chemotherapy group.
  • The virtual Virgin Money London Marathon has given 25-year-old Bryony Webster, who has autism, the opportunity to run the London Marathon away from the thousands of participants in the mass event in the capital, a daunting prospect for her. After taking up running two years ago to improve her mental health, Bryony is looking forward to testing herself across the 26.2 miles and will be cheered on by her friends and family as she takes to the streets of Shropshire.
  • A group of seven runners, led by documentary film-maker Chris Terrill, will be taking part in the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon from on board Britain’s biggest warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth. Chris – who is aboard the ship to follow the UK Carrier Strike Group 21 – and the other crew members will run more than 100 laps of the running track on the ship while they are in the middle of the South China Sea.

Other stories

  • A team of five are running the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise funds and awareness for the Kiyan Prince Foundation (KPF). Mark Prince set up the KPF after the murder of his 15-year old son Kiyan, a promising footballer at Queens Park Rangers, who was fatally stabbed after trying to help break up a fight outside of his school. The foundation works to give young people a voice and opportunities away from street crime, and to help combat knife crime.