A great London Marathon—now for the tidy-up and to collect the sponsorships
- Credit: Vickie Flores
The 30,000 competitors pounding the streets in the London Marathon brought joy twice over to thousands of spectators as it wound its way in both directions through London’s East End. They raced for glory—or to raise cash for many charities.
Barnardo’s, celebrating its 150th anniversary, the Bow Ability therapy gym and the Children’s Society were among many charitities which had runners for their causes.
Gabriel Hall, 44, raised £700 for Barnardo’s, as the manager of its Hub centre at Stepney Green which helps deprived youngsters in the East End gain skills to go onto worthwhile careers.
His family of three children, including six-month-old baby Amara, came out to see him off, then turned up on the Embankment to watch their dad through his paces in 3hrs 32 mins.
“It was really hard going and I was glad it was all over,” he admitted afterwards.
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“I managed nearly all the way to keep up with the ‘pace master’ who carries a flag with ‘3.30hrs’ on it so you know how you’re doing.
“But I was shattered by the last quarter-mile. I could see finish, but had to slow up and lost two minutes.”
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Even so, it was his first marathon and he plans to run for Barnardo’s next year to beat the three-and-a-half-hour barrier.
“You have to pace yourself to get through a lot of runners bunched together because it gets quite dense,” Gabriel added. “You focus on your running and breathing trying to dodge the others.”
Gabriel is still seeking donations for Barnardo’s children’s charity (hint).
Novice runner Richard Crellin, 26, originally from Limehouse, crossed the finish line in his first marathon in 3hrs 56mins to raise £1,830 for The Children’s Society, where he works as a policy officer. He has only been a serious runner since December.
“I can’t quite believe I did it,” Richard said. “It was emotional and overwhelming, but also made me euphoric.”
The race passed the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, then over Tower Bridge, along The Highway to Limehouse and Canary Wharf, twice round the Isle of Dogs, back through Limehouse to Tower Hill, passing the Tower of London and The Monument, along the Embankment to Westminster and The Mall to finish in front of Buckingham Palace.
Some of the biggest crowds were along The Highway between Tower Hill and Limehouse—where it runs in both directions.
Council contractors sweeping up afterwards have had to deal with a-quarter of a million water bottles from the drinking stations along the 11 mile stretch through Tower Hamlets, nearly half the entire length.
For most taking part, it was a fun run and The Highway was a mass of ‘rush hour’ humanity as they sprinted, jogged, trotted, skipped or just plain walked.
But there was sadness too, as one runner collapsed with a suspected heart attack minutes after passing the Tower of London.
Afghanistan veteran soldier David Seath, 31, had made it through east London and into The City when he collapsed passing Southwark Bridge.
Paramedics gave first aid on the pavement before he was taken to hospital—but he died soon after.
David, who was raising money for Help For Heroes charity, served in the 19th Regiment Royal Artillery Highland Gunners in Afghanistan in 2012.
His Army friends completed the marathon in his honour, starting at the place where he collapsed just three miles short of the finish.
“We will walk as one, the final three miles of the marathon, starting where he fell,” Capt James Walker-McClimens wrote on a fundraising page set up following his death.
“In the Army, we don’t like unfinished business. The full marathon was something he wanted to do—so we are going to complete it for him.”
He was the second runner to die in the London Marathon in just four years, after 30-year-old Claire Squires collapsed close to the finish in 2012. A campaign set up following her death raised £1m for the Samaritans.
Photos: Vickie Flores