Here are some of their stories:
The Wimbledon trio of Richard Brambly, Colin Dow and Stephen McNicol make up Team Finlay and are running for the charity RP Fighting Blindness. Stephen’s 12-year-old son Finlay suffers from retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an inherited disease of the eye which gradually leads to loss of sight. Finlay was diagnosed two years ago and since then Stephen, Colin and Richard, who is also Finlay’s Deputy Head Teacher, have joined together to raise funds for the charity that has supported Finlay and his family since his diagnosis.
South Shields’ Colin Plews, known to many as Big Pink Dress, also makes his London Marathon debut and will be wearing a large pink dress to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. He is running for his close friend Janet, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. At 6 foot 6 inches tall and weighing in at 19 stone, the ex-Forces man is certain to stand out in the field.
Claude Umuhire will be running for The Running Charity (TRC), which supported him after Claude was homeless for eight months in 2012. After his family fled the Rwanda genocides and came to the UK, Claude struggled to support himself and ended up on the streets. TRC recruited Claude to their inaugural programme which was aimed at engaging the UK’s homeless and vulnerable people in regular running-based activities. Claude is now a full-time member of the TRC training staff and is running the London Marathon to raise funds and awareness for the charity that helped him to turn his life around.
Jo-Ann Ellis from Cumbria is running her second London Marathon with her sister Nicola to raise money for the charity Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group in memory of Jo-Ann’s son Jake who was diagnosed with a rare aggressive tumour called Rhabdomysarcoma at the age of 11 months. After battling the disease valiantly for four years, Jake died in November 2008, aged just five. After experiencing the invaluable support provided by the charity to her and her family throughout Jake’s illness, Jo-Ann is hoping that the money she raises will help other children and their families in the future.
Every year, staff at the London Marathon are moved and inspired by the personal stories shared by the thousands of runners who take on the challenge of running the marathon. This year, one story is very close to home: the story of Elaine and Andy Rayner.
Elaine has worked at the London Marathon for seven years and last November gave birth to a baby boy prematurely, just 24 weeks and three days into her pregnancy. Tiny Sebastian spent the first three months of his life battling for survival under the dedicated care of the doctors and nurses in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at King’s College Hospital, London. The care they provided has made it possible for Seb to be transferred to his local hospital in Kent and he is likely to be discharged in April to go home for the first time five months after he was born. Both Andy and Elaine are keen runners and Andy has made the decision to run this year in order to raise funds for the NICU which has done so much for him and his family. Andy is hoping to raise £10,500, the total amount it costs per week to look after one baby at the unit.
Read more stories from this year’s runners here.
There will also be more than 100 runners attempting to break a Guinness World Records. Details will be announced next week