LONDON marathon runners are set to have raised a staggering £200,000 for disabled people in the UK and overseas through their support of leading charity Leonard Cheshire Disability.
A total of 90 runners ran the famous race in the capital on Sunday for Leonard Cheshire, with friends, family and the charity cheering them on throughout.
One Leonard Cheshire runner, 61-year old Chris Arthey, was the oldest amputee to complete the London Marathon.
Chris, who lost his leg after being hit by a drink driver, completed the race, his first marathon since his accident, in 4 hours 50 minutes.
He said: “My prosthetic leg swings to the side when I run, so I had to be careful not to clip anyone. I almost fell once, but luckily a fellow runner steadied me.”
Chris said he was feeling confident before the race because training had gone well, but at mile four he felt a stinging in his stump and wondered if he should stop to check on it.
“Eventually I decided I would not be stopping. I wanted to make sure I ran the whole race with no stopping and no walking.
“I was so proud to achieve that. I knew miles 16-22 would be hard; that is when you get self-doubt and feel wretched. The crowd always helps and I just thought of all the sponsorship I’d had.
“When I got in front of Buckingham Palace, I thought: just smile and don’t fall over.
“I felt faint afterwards and my stump was painful, but I was just so pleased to fundraise for Leonard Cheshire Disability. They really pull out all the stops and I was well looked after by them after the race. I got home in pretty good shape!”
Chris, from Godalming in Surrey, was running to support the Leonard Cheshire care service Hydon Hill in his home town and so far has raised £3,300
Also running for Leonard Cheshire was children’s author Simon A.C. Martin from Sidcup, London.
He said: “Staying motivated was so easy. I have never known a crowd so amazing. They were giving out high fives and a couple of girls ran out and gave me a hug when I was not doing very well and clearly struggling.
“I even got a marriage proposal, sort of! A girl was holding up a card up saying: ‘you’ve done something crazier today, marry me’!”
Leonard Cheshire carer Jordan Smith, who works at Holehird care home in Cumbria, also took part in the day.
He said: “I got inspired by all the residents, mainly one resident in particular who ran 20 marathons after the age of 50.
“Unfortunately she was walking in Austria and had an accident and was disabled from the neck down.
“We had a conversation one day about how I could never do a marathon, and I realised it was a bit ridiculous for me to say that. So here I am now.”
Leonard Cheshire trustee Ranald Mair, from East Ayrshire, also took on the race and said:
“My reasons for running the London Marathon were twofold: firstly the personal challenge; it’s good to prove that no matter what your age, you can still take on a challenge and succeed.
“Secondly and most importantly, the pain and physical challenges I faced yesterday are as nothing compared to those faced by disabled people every day.
“At Leonard Cheshire Disability we are proud to be helping disabled people live their lives to the full and I was proud to be running for such a worthwhile cause.”
The charity was also lucky enough to have international runners, including Ray Helwich, who had come all the way from Pennsylvania and finished in 3 hours 13 minutes.