Team Samaritans Runner Tamsin

The powerful stories behind 27 runners taking part in the 2024 TCS London Marathon

Ellie Hudson, 39, Ely
Charity: Action Medical Research for Children

A self-confessed running novice, Ellie will be running her first TCS London Marathon in April, for the charity Action Medical Research for Children, which funds research into incurable diseases.

Ellie’s six-year-old son, Finley, was diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) aged just three-months-old. DBA is an incurable disease that primarily affects the bone marrow; people with the condition often also have physical abnormalities affecting various parts of the body. The major function of bone marrow is to produce new blood cells, but in DBA, the bone marrow malfunctions and fails to make enough red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body's tissues – just 125 people suffer from DBA in the UK.

Since his birth, Finley has suffered with cardiac issues, has been diagnosed profoundly deaf, and contracted meningitis twice. Throughout Finley’s medical issues, Ellie was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and she credits her young son with inspiring her to keep going during her own treatments. 

Finley has faced life and death so many times and has come through all of it magnificently and will require many more medical interventions as he develops, but he is Ellie’s hero. Her hope is that by taking part in the 2024 TCS London Marathon she will increase awareness of this rare disease and raise funds that can be used to help find a cure.

Bonnie Jackson
Charity: Annabelle’s Challenge 

Bonnie is running the 2024 TCS London Marathon in support of Annabelle's Challenge, the UK’s leading charity for vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (vascular EDS).

Bonnie and her daughter, Mia, have raised more than £64,000 for the charity since Mia’s diagnosis of vascular EDS in August 2021. VEDS is a life threatening and life limiting genetic disorder which affects the arteries and organs making them extremely fragile and at risk of rupture at any time.

VEDS is an invisible illness and Bonnie battled for seven years for a diagnosis for Mia and says she never gave up. Without the diagnosis Mia, 9, would be living with a ticking time bomb without the scientific knowledge to help her explain her symptoms and to get the support she needs.

Bonnie is running the marathon with a superhero ‘Mum On A Mission’ cape, which will feature the Annabelle's Challenge crown logo. Bonnie also has a specially made purple and pink crown to wear, which is based on the charity’s logo, and Mia has been in charge of the outfit.

“I am running for Mia and for everyone with this silent killer disease,” Bonnie says.

Craig Vaughan, 37, Leeds
Charity: Archie’s Caravan

Craig, and his friend Ryan, will be taking part in the 2024 TCS London Marathon in memory of his son, Archie Vaughan, who died in 2021, aged three years old. Neither Craig nor Ryan have ever run a marathon before, but they will be putting all their efforts into training and fundraising for Archie’s Caravan – a charity set up in Archie’s memory which provides free holidays for families with children affected by cancer.

Archie arrived on Christmas Day in 2017, a little brother for Craig’s older children, Lily and Harry, and their family was complete. Things started to change for Archie in June 2021, and although he was still a happy, chatty little boy, his head started to tilt to one side. After visiting the doctors, and then the hospital, Archie was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.

Following a 10-hour operation in July 2021, and a quick recovery, the family left hospital and went to Archie’s favourite place – the beach. During his illness, Archie’s family continued to make memories together, including day trips, parties, holidays to Spain, a Disney cruise and a visit from the local fire brigade.

However, when his medical team discovered that Archie’s tumour was in his brainstem, and too dangerous to operate on, he was placed on palliative care and sadly passed away at home in November 2021. 

The family raised £70,000 for Archie’s potential treatment and following his death, the money was eventually used to buy Archie’s Caravan, helping families with children affected by cancer have a free break when they are going through the unthinkable. 

Craig says their family will keep doing all they can in Archie’s memory to help others – including running the 2024 TCS London Marathon to raise more funds for Archie’s Caravan.

Mark Howard, 53, from Kings Lynn
Charity: Blesma, The Limbless Veterans

Mark is a veteran who uses a wheelchair after being injured in service. He uses sport to inspire people and in 2023 he became the first ‘wheelie’ to do the classics in the same year, and this year he aims to be first to do it twice. Mark is also using this as part of his training for another first, which is the National Three Peaks Challenge in a wheelchair, again something that has never been done before.

Michelle Weller, 48, Wiltshire
Charity: BlueCross – Pet Loss Service (PLS)

“Nothing prepares you for losing your best friend,” says Michelle. “Bailey was more than my shadow – if he could’ve crawled inside me, he would have.”

Springer spaniel Bailey was by nurse Michelle’s side for nine years, spending all their spare time together developing a deep connection. So, when he passed away suddenly in 2022, Michelle’s world fell apart.

“I’d go in a room and, when he wasn’t there, I’d almost have a panic attack. When I went to pick up Bailey’s ashes from the vets, I absolutely broke down.” That was when Michelle was given a pamphlet about Pet Loss Support (PLS), a free and confidential service offered by Blue Cross.

“When I phoned the first time, I didn’t speak for the first hour, I just sobbed,” she says. “The lovely person on the end of the phone just listened. It was as if someone had given me a massive hug. She took me out of that dark place I was in. It was a hug in a phone call.” 

The help of PLS over several months allowed Michelle to process Bailey’s death, so she can now focus on their happy times on Devon’s beaches, or scaling the heights of the Welsh mountains of Snowdon and Pen y Fan and climbing Scotland’s Ben Nevis. Determined to give back, Michelle is training to run the 2024 TCS London Marathon on 21 April in support of Blue Cross. The keen runner also has plans to complete further marathons and four ultramarathons in 2024, in aid of Blue Cross.

“Every minute I spent with Bailey was filled with laughter and happiness,” adds Michelle, who will celebrate her 49th birthday as she runs the gruelling 26.2-mile course around London. “Blue Cross is so special to me because the support after Bailey’s death was one of the reasons I got up every day.”

Gary Gray, 62, Essex
Charity: Brain Research UK

Gary ran his first London Marathon in October 2021, and vowed that it would be his first and last. However, the health of his daughter Sarah, 27, proved a worthy reason to tackle the London Marathon once again. Gary will be taking part in the 2024 TCS London Marathon in aid of the charity Brain Research UK. 

In 2013, Sarah was diagnosed with an epidermoid cyst on her brain. Since then, it has been monitored annually and remained constant in size and shape, with Sarah’s neurosurgeon advising her against surgery until necessary. But, last year, her symptoms worsened with more frequent headaches, vision issues and a new problem of tinnitus in one ear.

Following the latest scans, the original cyst has almost doubled in size and, with a second cyst developing, surgery is now considered necessary. This has been a devastating time for all of Gary’s family, as Sarah faces a daunting recovery and a list of possible side effects.

During this time, Sarah was successful in the 2024 TCS London Marathon ballot while her partner and Gary were unsuccessful. Gary couldn't let her face the challenge of 26.2 miles on her own, so he applied for a charity place with Brain Research UK. He has since fundraised more than £2,000 thanks to the generosity of their friends and family.

Sarah decided to delay her surgery until May 2024 so she can complete the TCS London Marathon with her dad. She will require two separate operations and will be unlikely to run again until at least 2026 – if ever again. The chance for Gary to run alongside his daughter and make memories that he will cherish forever was an opportunity he couldn’t refuse.

Leanne Hainsby, 36, London 
Charity: Breast Cancer Now

Londoner Leanne has always had a special place in her heart for the London Marathon. The UK’s first Peloton instructor, Leanne was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2023 and has been supported by Breast Cancer Now throughout her treatment and recovery. She will be raising money and awareness for the charity at the 2024 TCS London Marathon.

Leanne is incredibly excited for Marathon Day as she prepares to tick the iconic 26.2-mile event off her bucket list. This year felt like the right time to honour her recovery and generate awareness of Breast Cancer Now. Leanne is proud to be able to achieve a life goal, while also raising money for a cause that is very important to her.

After receiving the all-clear from breast cancer at the end of 2023, after various treatments, Leanne knows first-hand the hard journey people face when diagnosed with breast cancer. She is passionate about raising awareness of the disease and the importance of women checking their breasts – especially among young women.

Leanne will be taking part in the 2024 London Marathon with her fiancé, Ben, a fellow Peloton instructor. They will be getting married not long after the Marathon and the wedding planning while on a treadmill has been keeping them on their toes.

Leanne will celebrate with her friends and family when she crosses the famous Finish Line on The Mall on Sunday 21 April, followed closely by some rest time with her dog, Jags.

Tamsin Scott, 43, Wallasey 
Charity: Just4Children

Tamsin is running her first TCS London Marathon to raise money for the charity Just4Children, which supports her four-year-old daughter, Fearne, with therapy and specialist equipment. 

Fearne was born with a very rare gene disorder caused by a variant to gene GABBR2. Only a handful of families around the world have this diagnosis, meaning very little is known about her condition other than it is known to cause regressions, meaning there could come a point that Fearne may start to lose skills.

Tamsin wants to do all she can to give her daughter the opportunity to develop as many skills as possible, after already making significant progress, and believes Fearne has much more to give. 

Tamsin originally entered the Liverpool Half Marathon to raise funds after thinking she would be unlikely to get a spot through the TCS London Marathon ballot, but now she has her place in London too she is looking forward to the challenge and experience of running a half marathon and marathon within the space of a month. In Tamsin’s words: “Fearne is absolutely worth it!”

Simone Carniglia, 37, Italy
Charity: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)

Marathon Day will be extra special for Simone as it will be his 37th birthday. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 12. He has always played team sports, but in 2017 he gained a lot of weight due to several injuries and a surgery he had. Simone started running in late 2018 to lose weight and hasn’t looked back.

In just over five years, Simone has run 12 marathons, and in November 2023 he set a record as the fastest diabetic ever to complete the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) Six Star challenge with a total time of 16:14:59 seconds. Setting an average of 2:42:30 per marathon, despite some race challenges, with a PB of 2:38:21 run in Chicago in 2022.

Now he has set himself the challenge of running the six Majors once again to improve his total time, and he hopes to also set a new Guinness World Record in London by running the fastest marathon ever by a Type 1 diabetic. Simone wants to inspire other diabetics and show that they don't have to give up on their dreams and that with the right training, nutrition, strategy, therapy and technology, they can achieve anything.

Simone also wants to raise awareness of an underestimated disease that affects the life of millions of people and to help fund research for a cure. His story has been featured on the AWMM YouTube channel for World Diabetes Day, which can be found here.

Jasmeet Bolina, 42, London
Charity: Leukaemia Care

Jasmeet has been running for personal fitness for several years, until she got the idea to use her passion for running to raise money for charities that are close to her heart. For Jasmeet, running is a form of therapy that allows her to process her feelings and thoughts that have come with the traumas in her life. She is running for her older brother, her mum, and her heartbroken dad, who have all passed away. 

Jasmeet’s older brother was diagnosed with leukaemia, and while he spent three years trying to fight the disease, he sadly passed at the age of 17, when Jasmeet was 15. Her mother also fell victim to leukaemia and despite her strength and tenacity – while making it her mission to survive long enough to meet her first grandchild – she sadly passed away at the age of 58. Jasmeet’s sister was seven months pregnant at the time, and she was 28.

Nine years after her mother's passing, her father also passed at the age of 67, Jasmeet was 37. She says he tragically died from alcohol abuse, as he just couldn’t cope living without his son and wife. Although his death certificate states otherwise, his passing was an indirect result of leukaemia.

Jasmeet says she is running for her lost loved ones but also to help and support those who are experiencing leukaemia. She says she will be thinking about those who have been, who are, and who will be affected by Leukaemia. She will also be thinking about all the families who have been impacted by leukaemia, and how to help prevent more people experiencing loss because of the disease.

Alex Stahlmann, 34, London
Charity: Maggie’s

In March 2023, serving soldier Alex was diagnosed with cancer. He was only 33, fit and led a healthy lifestyle so his diagnosis came as a huge shock. He underwent an intensive, three-month chemotherapy programme and he is thankfully doing better, but he has a long way to go before he is recovered or can confidentially say he is ‘cancer-free’.

Alex began documenting his journey via a blog and through Instagram (@majorballache). A few weeks into his chemotherapy Alex went to support his best friend, an experienced runner who is still completing sub-two-hour marathons at 40 years old, take on the 2023 TCS London Marathon. Alex hobbled his way to meet him at the Start Line and after experiencing the electric atmosphere started to think how great it would be to get through treatment and celebrate a year from his diagnosis by completing his first-ever London Marathon. 

Alex entered his name into the public ballot for the 2024 TCS London Marathon as well as applying via various charities, including Maggie’s, the cancer charity. When Maggie’s heard about his story they offered him a place on their team of London Marathon fundraisers. 

Alex’s treatment has taken a toll on him physically, but training for the Marathon in April has been a great excuse for him to focus on his rehabilitation and continue testing his progress. He hopes that the challenge of running 26.2-miles is enough motivation for him to raise as much awareness and funds for Maggie’s.

Harriet Smith, 29, Wirral  
Charity: Ovacome

At the age of 27 Harriet was diagnosed with stage three adrenal cancer, an extremely rare cancer that affects one in a million people. She had experienced a loss of her period for over a year, which doctors kept putting down to the stress of losing her mum, who died from ovarian cancer. However, Harriet knew something wasn’t right and continued to push for answers. Eventually she was diagnosed with adrenal cancer and had to undergo open surgery to remove the 16cm tumour, her kidney and adrenal gland. As Harriet lay in her hospital bed, she knew she wanted to start running.

Harriet is taking chemotherapy tablets for two years as a preventive measure and it’s important for her mental health that she stays active. She joined a local running club and fell in love with running slow. 

Harriet’s cancer diagnosis at such a young age, and only one year after losing her mum to cancer, has been devastating for her and her family. The average life expectancy for someone with her diagnosis is 12 to 18 months. When she takes on the 2024 TCS London Marathon in April she will be 20 months post diagnosis so making it to the Start Line will be her own personal lottery win.

Harriet is raising money for Ovacome, the ovarian cancer charity, which provided her mum with invaluable support throughout her diagnosis and treatment, as well as a community to lean on. Since being diagnosed with stage three cancer herself, Harriet understands the mental and physical toll that a cancer diagnosis has and wants to do all she can to raise awareness for the work of Ovacome.

Julie McElroy
Charity: Richard Whitehead Foundation

Julie is aiming to be the first female frame runner to complete the TCS London Marathon. Born in Glasow with cerebral palsy, Julie has faced and overcome many unique challenges throughout her life. Her quest for inclusion, and passion for sport, have come together in her biggest challenge yet, the 2024 TCS London Marathon.

Two years ago, Julie was introduced to frame running through Victoria Park Athletics Club in Glasgow. This is an adaptive sport, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to be able to run, using specially designed frames. Since that introduction, Julie has completed many events with her frame runner and helped raise money for her club, including the Paisley 10K, the infamous 22.6-mile Glasgow Kiltwalk and the Great Scottish Half Marathon, becoming the first frame runner to successfully complete the course. Participation in these events has provided Julie with unique physical challenges, as well as having a positive impact on her mental health. 

It has offered increased independence, as well as enhanced social inclusion in events that otherwise would have been impossible and out of reach. It has also renewed Julie’s confidence to succeed and trust in others to support her achieve her dreams – as she strives to inspire others to seek out opportunities and realise their own full potential.

She will be running for the Richard Whitehead Foundation, as its mission statement and Julie’s experiences throughout her life align perfectly. Both seek to create social change and using the power of sport to inspire disabled people, with a common belief that the impact of sport enhances mental wellbeing, confidence, self-esteem, inclusion and employability.

Looking forward, Julie and her team – which includes TV presenter, adventurer and explorer, Ken Hames, together with David Perkins, Catriona Bruce and experienced marathon runner Gill Menzies, a friend to Julie and a Richard Whitehead accredited support runner – have their sights firmly set on the 2024 TCS London Marathon. The team will help Julie and Gill complete the marathon mission and in doing so inspire others, proving that anything is possible – with courage, the right application and a good support network.

Lloyd Martin, 19, from Camberley
Charity: Stepping Stones Downs Syndrome and Special Olympics GB

Lloyd has Down’s syndrome and loves doing parkrun. His mum is a regular marathon runner, so when Lloyd had the opportunity to take a disability place in the 2024 TCS London Marathon, he decided to accept the challenge and will bid to become the youngest person with Down’s syndrome to complete a marathon. Lloyd is also raising money for the charity Stepping Stones Down’s Syndrome and Special Olympics GB, which helped him make use of the available disability places at the 2024 TCS London Marathon. Lloyd says both charities have given him opportunities to try different sports throughout his childhood and have helped him progress in sports, with him even winning a gold medal in the British Disability Championships. Aside from the success, Lloyd has also made many new friendships and enjoys competing and being part of a team.

Didi Diaris, 49, from Marlborough
Charity: Stoke Mandeville

Didi has run two marathons before but was paralysed from the neck down in 2019 in an accident that resulted in a high spinal cord injury, leaving him with no feeling and movement bellow his neck. This year, he will be taking part using a non-self-propelled wheelchair, as his old marathon running buddies are now pushing him along so that he can still participate in the events he loves. Didi is also raising money for the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where he spent time rehabilitating. The cash will be put towards buying a stationary FES bike, which applies electrical stimulation to the muscles and/or nerves to contract the muscles associated with cycling, allowing patients to naturally cycle despite weakness or paralysis.

Tracy Stratford, 39, Harlow
Charity: Stroke Association

On Sunday 29 March 1981, the first-ever London Marathon took place. Only elite runners were invited to take part, and Tracy’s uncle Phillip, at the age of 27, was one of them. As a small child, she remembers seeing a photo in her nan's bedroom of Phillip running the iconic event and that it inspired her to do the same.

In 1993, at the age of 39, Phillip suffered a huge stroke. Even though Tracy was young, she remembers rushing to the hospital and how worried everyone was. Luckily, he survived and has become an incredibly talented wood craftsman. Tracy’s aunt and uncle attend a local support group run by the Stroke Association, which also provided the family with support and information at the time of Phillip's stroke. Because of this help, Tracy always knew she would eventually run the London Marathon in support of the Stroke Association.

But she kept putting it off as she feared the training and time commitment and was aware of the challenges despite already being a keen runner. Tracy completed quite a few 10-mile events and half marathons last year and says that she has finished having children, so 2024 is the right time. 

On Marathon Day, Tracy will be 39. The same age Phillip was when he had his stroke. She says she can't imagine something like that happening to her and worries about what would happen to her daughter. That’s why running the marathon and supporting the Stroke Association is her ultimate goal. 

Thomas Eller, 43, Germany
Charity: Team Sense

Thomas is a deaf-born runner hailing from Essen, Germany. In 2023, he etched his name in the history of the global deaf community by becoming the world's first deaf-born Abbott World Marathon Majors Six-Star medal finisher in Tokyo. Taking it a step further, he completed all six major races – Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City – in a single calendar year, earning the esteemed title of the world's first deaf-born World Marathon Majors Slam finisher.

Beyond personal triumphs, Thomas is a deaf teacher. He works at the David Ludwig Bloch School located in Essen, Germany, teaching English, Maths, and Geography. During his lessons he uses both spoken language and sign language to provide his deaf students with the opportunity to choose the communication method they prefer.

His students, aged 12 to 14, are primarily refugees from war zones. Being their deaf role model, Thomas says he strives to inspire them by demonstrating that despite being deaf, they can actively participate in the community, communicate effectively, and achieve great things. Building a bridge between the deaf and hearing communities is a central goal of Thomas’ work and he says that after each marathon, he enjoys sharing his experiences with his class to help boost their own self-confidence and empower them to take up physical activity. This, to Thomas, is Deaf Empowerment.

Thomas is committed to making mass participation events more accessible and inclusive for the deaf community. Though his disability may be invisible, Thomas sees himself as a bridge between the hearing and deaf communities, exemplifying that deaf individuals can accomplish monumental feats. His aim is to inspire others, particularly his deaf students, by serving as their role model.

The TCS London Marathon holds a special place in Thomas’ heart, providing him with a unique platform to address the world and demonstrate that deaf individuals can transform dreams into reality.

Lucy Shepherd, 37, Watford
Charity: The Institute of Cancer Research 

Lucy is a cancer survivor who is running the 2024 TCS London Marathon for The Institute of Cancer Research, in memory of two wonderful friends, Nicola and Margarita, who lost their lives to different cancers – head and neck, and breast cancer.

Lucy has worked in the NHS for 10 years at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, which supports a population of more than two million people from across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, parts of London, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. Her job involves setting up and overseeing cancer clinical trials for many cancers, and she sees first-hand the vital work of charities such as the ICR. Research into the causes and treatments of cancer has kept her alive and she is confident that one day they will find a cure to end the insurmountable suffering of so many, like her friends Nicola and Margarita.

Friends for more than 20 years, Lucy and Nicola met at school. Nicola lived with severe Crohn’s disease for most of her life and bravely endured various treatments and therapies aimed at giving her respite from the health troubles she faced. Nicola was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and died just a few months later in May 2023, just a few weeks after starting chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Lucy continued to work at the cancer centre where Nicola was treated throughout her friend’s illness.

Nicola had supported Lucy through her own cancer diagnosis at the height of the pandemic in 2020 when she found herself facing rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and targeted therapies at a time of national lockdown. During this time Lucy also met and became friends with Margarita, a fellow patient at the Royal Free in London who was being treated for complications arising from life-saving cancer treatments. Throughout a tough and prolonged stay, with no visitors allowed, the two became good friends. 

Losing two of her closest friends in such a short space of time, plus coping with her own cancer diagnosis, has been difficult for the 37-year-old. And despite feeling too depressed throughout her own chemotherapy to exercise, Lucy was supported by her medical team to start using the gym, and eventually she found running again. She now hopes to raise funds for cancer research in memory of Nicola and Margarita by taking part in the 2024 TCS London Marathon, in the hope that others will be saved from a similar fate.

Kiko Rutter, 83, Farnham 
Charity: Helena Goldie Mission Hospital

Kiko is an 83-year-old retired surgeon who is running his third London Marathon this April. He is raising money for a small mission hospital on Vella Lavella, one of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, which his father ran from 1938 to 1942. Kiko was born there in 1940, but left the island in the Second World War, before returning in 1944 when his father set up the new medical service on the islands. The small hospital is still there today, and Kiko is very keen to support it financially.

Kiko and his wife tried to sail to the Solomons with medical equipment in their yacht in 1998, but when in Vanuatu, only a day’s sail away from the islands, they were advised by the Foreign Office not to continue due to ethnic violence. So, they turned left for Australia and finally got back to the UK in 2004 – leaving them with unfinished business. Kiko tends to return to the islands after running a marathon, taking with him the money he has raised.

In 2018, Kiko ran the Nottingham Marathon, raising £23,000 and enough to equip the school on Vella Lavella with a computer department and a science laboratory. In December 2022, he ran in a marathon at Goodwood, and on this occasion raised £21,000 to provide the same hospital he was born in with a large solar panel power generation system.

Kiko visited the island last year, planning the project with the hospital manager, and this year he hopes to raise enough money to give the hospital a battery bank to help it retain the power generated during the day, for running the hospital at night.

At 83, Kiko expects this will be his last London Marathon, so he intends to make the most of it and enjoy the experience. He also hopes to raise more than £20,000 for charity once again.

Ryan Thomas, Norfolk
Team TCS Teachers programme 

Ryan was awarded an entry into the London Marathon through TCS’s Team TCS Teachers programme, which looks to engage educators as change agents who in turn inspire the next generation of youngsters.

As part of the Team TCS Teachers programme, Ryan will get access to TCS’s flagship STEM education programs (goITand Ignite My Future in Schools) for the pupils of Beck Row Primary Academy.

Ryan, a teacher and Assistant Principle at Beck Row Primary Academy in Norfolk, is used to the stressful world of teaching, but he enjoys the release running offers him. It is a time to look after his physical and mental wellbeing. 

In 2021, Ryan sadly lost a pupil in his class to illness and has dedicated himself since then to challenges like the TCS London Marathon in the child’s memory. 

Having watched the London Marathon on television as a child, Ryan knows the powerful impact his own participation in an event like the TCS London Marathon can have on the pupils at his school. He hopes to inspire and encourage as many of them as possible to get, and stay, active.

Ryan has also introduced the TCS Mini London Marathon into his school and hopes to continue to give the children the best opportunities to challenge themselves and feel a sense of achievement. Encouraging his pupils to join him on weekly runs around the school grounds or get active in their local parks, Ryan is determined to be a positive role model for those around them. 

He is looking forward to sharing his TCS London Marathon finishers medals with the school children when he returns to school, with one lucky daily school champion being allowed to wear the medal. 

Louise Prashad, 29, York 
Charity: Tommy’s

Louise is running the 2024 TCS London Marathon in memory of her twins, Mia and Leo, who were stillborn in 2016 due to a rare condition called acute fatty liver of pregnancy, which is caused by a build-up of too much fat within the liver. She is also running in memory of her son’s twins, who were sadly lost in 2022 at just 20 weeks old. 

Since their loss as a family, Louise has connected with families around the world who have experienced the loss of a child. Louise believes that after a child passes, it is so important to continue to speak their name, because as long as it is spoken they are not gone. Hundreds of families have entrusted her with the names of their angels, so she intends to run in their memory too. 

Louise has created a ribbon for each child and will be running with 400 ribbons on Marathon Day, including her own angels. By doing this she hopes to keep their memory alive and end the stigma around such tragic events.
Louise is running for Tommy’s – the largest UK charity for pregnancy and baby loss – to raise awareness of the devastating effects of child loss and to fundraise for life-saving medical advancements in memory of her son and daughter.

Callum Yorston, 28, London 
Charity: Tommy’s 

Callum is hoping to raise as much as he can for Tommy’s, the pregnancy and baby loss charity, when he runs the 2024 TCS London Marathon in April. Tommy’s funds research into the causes and prevention of miscarriage, prematurity, and stillbirth.

Callum’s partner, Hannah, has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Among other things, this often makes conceiving a baby difficult. After years of trying to become parents, Callum and Hannah turned to their GP for help. They were referred to the LOCI medical trial which investigates how to assist women with PCOS to become (and remain) pregnant. The trial is supported by Tommy’s. 

Three months into treatment, the couple found out Hannah was pregnant. They were over the moon because something they had almost given up hope on seemed within reach again. Sadly though, on 20 April 2023, they were told the baby hadn’t developed as hoped, and another scan a week later confirmed that Hannah had suffered a miscarriage. It was a whirlwind of physical pain and decision making that Callum and Hannah weren’t prepared for. Throughout their grief, they found Tommy’s to be incredibly helpful in explaining next steps, answering questions and helping them come to terms with their loss.

The 2023 TCS London Marathon took place the day after they discovered Hannah had miscarried and, to distract himself from the grief, Callum wandered down to watch the runners pass through Greenwich. He felt inspired and entered the ballot for 2024.

He was successful and will be running to promote the work of Tommy’s and to encourage more people to speak about their own experiences of baby loss – each year there are around 200,000 miscarriages in the UK and one in four pregnancies end in loss or complications.

Caroline Pocock, 41, Wymondham
Charity: Tommy’s

Caroline last ran the London Marathon in April 2019, raising money for Tommy’s – the pregnancy and baby loss charity – after suffering the loss of six babies to miscarriage and one miracle baby, Zach.  

Following the emotion and jubilation of completing her first London Marathon, Caroline suffered another miscarriage and nearly died from a haemorrhage.  A scary, life-changing moment led Caroline to join a running club and she used running as a way of dealing with her PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Caroline happily fell pregnant again in 2020 and now has her beautiful rainbow son Rafferty – who is almost three.

Caroline is looking forward to running the TCS London Marathon again, this time as a more experienced runner and is hoping to beat her time. Ultimately though, her driving force is to raise as much money as possible for Tommy’s to say thank you for the amazing support the charity gave her during her losses, as well helping to fund research into understanding and preventing others experiencing devastating miscarriages and baby loss. Caroline fully expects to cry all the way around the TCS London Marathon course once again, but this time in the knowledge that her son Rafferty will be cheering her on.

Gabriella Gervaise-Brazier, 33, Guernsey 
Charity: Versus Arthritis

Gabriella is taking part in the 2024 TCS London Marathon for a different reason this year. In previous years, Gabriella ran the marathon as an able-bodied participant, and she had a completely different outlook on life. This was until last year, when she was diagnosed with arthritis in her spine, leaving her barely able to walk properly. She was told to avoid certain exercises and she had to give up running, hockey and a lot of things she loved doing. The diagnosis was a total shock, and at 32, she did not believe it was possible.

Gabriella says it’s been so difficult regaining consistency in her life, training and work – all while managing a chronic illness and the pain she experiences. She says that she really struggled with the diagnosis and wanted to prove to herself that she could still do something and have a goal. Gabriella tried to run in November last year and again in January, but her back was just too painful. However, she has accepted a place in the 2024 TCS London Marathon and is training having previously not been able to cover 2K without pain. Gabriella says she wants to raise awareness of what it’s like to run with arthritis and to prove to herself that it doesn’t own her.

Ido Simyoni, 40, New York
Charity: N/A

Ido was diagnosed with head tumours aged 15 and underwent three head surgeries at the age of 15, 17 and 26. And three weeks after he completes the 2024 TCS London Marathon, Ido is expected to undergo his fourth head surgery to fix and manage complications from the last surgery and to check why he has cerebral edema (swelling of the brain).

As his neurosurgeon describes it, Ido will embark on his own health marathon this year with the surgery due in May, as well as further surgery planned for August. Ido started running five years ago and, despite his health issues, he has just completed his eighth marathon in Tokyo.

Ido believes that his story can inspire others to keep fighting and motivate them to keep chasing their dreams, no matter the challenges they face. When he runs, Ido likes to reflect on his life and journey to this point – that is what keeps pushing him further. 

In the 2023 London Marathon, Ido scaled new heights when he finished in his second-best marathon time of 2:56:45 – only behind his PB of 2:55:00.

Peter Zienau, 60, Australia 
Charity: N/A 

Peter and his wife, Serena, met online via a running community called miCoach back in 2014, and have since completed many races all over the world together, taking part in about 50 marathons. Peter was born in Germany and lived in Sweden, while Serena is Australian, meaning the distance between them was 16,667km when they first met.

Serena has recently overcome breast cancer for a second time, having completed 15 months of treatment. During her chemotherapy she was able to complete three marathons and several half marathons – sometimes a day after the chemotherapy treatment. 

Peter ran his PB at the London Marathon in 2015, but Serena is yet to run in London. In 2024, they will finally get that chance and run the iconic course together – Serena wearing pink and Peter wearing green.

Pandav Mahato, 50, High Wycombe
Charity: N/A 

Pandav was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2008. A year later, after a successful operation and the positive support of his friends and family, he beat cancer.

However, years later in 2023, Pandav’s life was turned upside down again when he was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome, a rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system. He was forced to spend two months in hospital on a ventilator in ICU – followed by a further three months in the Buckinghamshire Neurorehabilitation Unit. The disease left him fully paralysed and unable to walk or talk. 

However, Pandav has defied all expectations and made a full recovery, despite his medical team warning him that many people are still unable to walk after one to two years. Pandav’s physical fitness – his love of running, swimming and cycling – was fundamental to his speedy recovery. Pandav says the great support from the NHS hospital staff, his family, and his friends was crucial to his recovery, and that he feels truly blessed to have all these people in his life helping him.