Team Pilgrims cheered all the way in London Marathon – updated Wednesday
Record crowds and warm sunshine greeted Team Pilgrims runners taking part in Sunday’s London Marathon.
Twelve people ran the 26 mile course through the capital to raise money for Pilgrims Hospices and, at the last count, were on course to raise nearly £22,000 for the charity.
It’s estimated that 700,000 people turned out to see the London Marathon and were able to give all 35,000 runners a rousing reception all along the route. Before the race there was a 30 second silence at the start in Blackheath to remember those killed and injured in the Boston Marathon bombings on the previous Monday.
For the first time, Pilgrims had been able to secure bonded places for four runners in the capital’s marathon and these were taken up by Tom Langlands from Folkestone, 4hrs 27 mins, Ella Brocklebank from Chartham near Canterbury, 4hrs 5mins, Jayne Dunsbee from Ash near Sandwich, 5hrs 8mins, and Nigel Ross Hunt from Broadstairs, 4hrs 3mins.
Others who secured their own places in the marathon and kindly chose to raise sponsorship for Pilgrims were: Matthew Boxell who completed in 4hrs 10mins; Matt Richards 4hrs15mins; Kate Dunkling, 6hrs 27mins; Claire Myers – a physiotherapist at Pilgrims Hospice Thanet – 5hrs 2mins; Deborah Elliott, 5hrs 8minutes; Steve Hogben 3hrs 49mins and Kelvin Slater, 4hrs 16mins.
Tom Langlands ran the Paris marathon two weeks ago and was able to keep up a brisk pace for that. Sunday’s sunshine though took its toll on him and made the going that much tougher. Even so, his official finish time was inside four and half hours.
He said: “Any disappointment with timing was wiped out by the look on my youngest daughter’s Emily’s face when she put on her Dad’s finishing medal – ultimately that’s all I wanted to see.
“Thanks to all the team and to Pilgrims Hospices for giving me an opportunity to run in such a wonderful event. I’ve no plans to run another marathon but I’m glad it ended on such a high.”
Ella Brocklebank, whose finish time was a new personal best, said: “Of the three times I have run the London Marathon I found the atmosphere yesterday absolutely amazing and the best I have experienced. The crowds seemed bigger and more vocal than ever and it was such a boost considering it was pretty warm compared to the conditions we have all trained in. I even got a suntan as well!”
Reporting back from his ‘world of pain’ was Matthew Boxell. He said: “Things were going really well until 15/16miles when a previous injury flared up. However, there was no way I was going to give in and managed to trot or walk the rest of the way.
“It was also good to see Kelvin on the way round and we helped each other for a few miles, both being in obvious pain! It was a real boost and helped me keep going during a difficult stage. I somehow managed to lose him in the crowds, but saw him again at the finish for a quick chat.
“My good friends Ray and Julie, whose son Josh I was running in memory of, met me at the finish in Horseguards Parade. This made for an emotional end to the day and a fair few tears being shed. It brought home the real reason I was doing this and how fantastically well everyone has done in raising some serious funds for Pilgrims.”
He said: “I have a few aches and pains today but overall, I’m feeling pretty good. It was a lot hotter and sunnier than I’d anticipated. I’m so glad to hear so much money has been raised by everybody.”
This was the second marathon that Steve Hogben, from Dymchurch, had run after taking part in Edinburgh in 2010. His 3 hrs 49mins was 17 minutes quicker than the Scottish race.
Claire Myers, physiotherapist at Pilgrims Hospice Thanet described the marathon as ‘the best day of my life’. She said: “Every step I took was euphoric! The atmosphere from start to finish was indescribable. Having hundreds of people shout your name and cheer you on from start to finish was incredible.
“The run itself was hard as it was so warm. I feel as we had trained through the winter in quite horrendously cold conditions, to suddenly run in warm weather was quite a shock to the system.
“My highlight was running over Tower Bridge as that is such an English landmark. I am pretty sure while running I said ‘never again’, but I need to beat that time now, so hopefully next year I’ll be doing it again!”
Jayne Dunsbee said: “Much to my amazement, I did it! It was an absolutely amazing experience. I completed it in 5:08, which I was very pleased with as my training plan was based in 5:30 – though actually I didn’t care about the time I did, as long as I finished before they reopened the roads!
”It was one of the most incredible days of my life – although tinged with some sadness, due to the Boston situation. The crowds of supporters were just fantastic – there was such a buzz along the whole route and I thoroughly enjoyed ‘hi-fiving’ lots of the kids! I also met so many truly inspiring runners.
“Many of the charity runners in fancy dress – eg the rhinos or the guys carrying Agas on their back – were struggling after just a few miles but they all showed such courage and determination, which I believe is exactly what the day was all about. My aim was to enjoy every minute of it – and that’s exactly what I did. I lapped up the atmosphere, smiled all (OK most!) of the way round and had an absolute blast!”
“My Wonderwoman outfit made the 26.2 miles unscathed, though not sure that I did – I was decidedly wafty for the latter miles, but recovered enough to have a huge bowl of chips on Sunday night …. and some celebratory champagne, of course!! I feel so fortunate that my dodgy joints stood the pace and I’m ecstatic that I’ve finally run the London Marathon – a very long-standing ambition and definitely a BIG tick off my list.”
Kate Dunkling, who lives in Wimbledon, enjoyed every moment of the occasion. She said: “From start to finish I had a smile on my face, I didn’t hit a wall and have not one blister! I can easily say it was one of the best days of my life, and I would even consider doing it again.”