Thousands of runners have completed this year’s London Marathon, and they’ve got some incredible stories to tell
More than 40,000 amazingly inspirational runners pounded the sweltering streets of the capital yesterday for the iconic London Marathon. In fact, with temperatures north of 24C, this year’s race was officially the hottest on record.
And of course, most of these everyday athletes were raising money for charities across the country. Here are some of the most life-affirming, inspirational tales…
1. The Grenfell firefighters
The Grenfell community is still healing from the devastating fire that killed 71 people and injured dozens more. And in the ongoing effort to raise money for the survivors to rebuild their lives, a group of London firefighters who helped to put out the flames and evacuate people on that horrific night ran this year’s marathon… in their full uniforms.
Nine of the firefighters were from the Red Watch at North Kensington Fire Station and the other nine were from the Red Watch at Paddington Fire Station. The Paddington crew took part in the Marathon in full firefighting gear, including breathing apparatus, meaning they were wearing an extra 30kgs of weight.
Twitter user Louise Corden explained that race officials told them not to run in this attire, due to the scorching weather - but they pointed out it was hotter in Grenfell Tower and continued.
Crew Manager Martin Gillam from Paddington fire station said: “This was a hugely traumatic event for everyone involved, both physically and emotionally. We are fundraising for the Fire Fighters Charity which has provided ongoing support to firefighters who attended the Grenfell fire and supports thousands of firefighters across the UK each year.
“We’re passionate about making sure money goes to the people who need it most so we’re also fundraising for two small charities, the Harrow Club and the Rugby Portobello Trust, which are dedicated to supporting local people in the Grenfell community.”
London Fire Commissioner, Dany Cotton, said: “I stood alongside firefighters as the fire took hold at Grenfell Tower, so I know all too well the absolute horror they dealt with last June. It takes some courage to do what they are doing, to yet again face this tragedy and to try make some good come out of it.
“I am very proud of these firefighters who represent the true essence of what it is to be a London firefighter - grit, determination and the sheer drive to help other people in the face of adversity.”
2. The 87-year-old runner who celebrated… with a beer
This year’s oldest London Marathon runner was 87-year-old John Starbrook. It was his 32nd marathon since he began running for Age UK back in the 1980s when he was 53. And he’s raised more than £40,000 since then.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “We’re so honoured to have John running for us - he’s a huge inspiration.”
And like the hero he is, John celebrated his amazing achievement with a cool, refreshing beer. Well deserved.
3. The teen cancer survivor
In 2014, Tim competed in a Half Ironman race in Fishguard. During the race, his chest felt tight and he was struggling to get his breathing right. He went to A&E in Withybush Hospital, and after a couple of days was transferred to Morriston Hospital.
Eventually, he got the devastating news that he had acute lymphoblastic lymphoma, a type of cancer. In December 2017, however, he finally finished his treatment. “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry,” he said.
And this year he took part in the London Marathon, raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
4. The reunion
You may remember one of the most inspiring moments of the 2017 London Marathon, when Matthew Rees helped a struggling David Wyeth over the finish line.
Well, this year the two men ran the marathon again, and finished just minutes apart.
Well done to everyone who ran this year - and if you fancy having a go yourself next year, read our no-nonsense guide.
(Image: Twitter / London Fire Brigade)