A Lincoln woman who was left struggling to walk after back surgery, and a fundraising manager from the British Heart Foundation running in memory of their mum and dad were among the Lincolnshire people taking part at the 41st London Marathon.
The 2021 London Marathon was postponed from April until Sunday, October 3 due to the coronavirus pandemic and to increase the chances of mass participation.
Sisay Lemma, from Ethiopia, won the Elite men’s race, with Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei taking the women’s title. Marcel Hug and Manuela Schar completed a Swiss double in the wheelchair races.
The marathon of 26.2 miles welcomed back just over 36,000 mass-event runners to the traditional streets course, including from Lincolnshire, as well as up to 40,000 running it virtually. Here is a round-up of a selection of Lincolnshire people who took part in the prestigious event:
Donna Baxter, 40, overcame amazing odds after struggling to walk for years, to then run the marathon in memory of her mum.
Shortly after Donna was born her mother was diagnosed with MS. By the time Donna was around 12 her mum started using a wheelchair full-time and was eventually restricted to bed.
Donna and her four sisters cared for their mum throughout their teens. When Donna was 17 her mum was hospitalised for pneumonia and ended up contracting septicaemia and tragically died.
She later joined the RAF and travelled the world, but in 2009 she injured her back wakeboarding.
Complications in surgery caused a blood clot to form, compressing her spinal cord, and Donna lost all feeling down her left-hand side.
She needed 13 surgeries in the space of four years to repair the damage, leaving her barely able to walk.
Donna completed the marathon in her target time of five hours and 15 minutes.
Donna has already raised over £1,000 – donate to her fundraiser here.
Gary Burr is a Fundraising Manager for the British Heart Foundation. He lost his dad Peter five years ago due to a heart attack and wanted to run the marathon in his memory.
Gary had previously entered through the ballot many times but been unsuccessful, but this year secured a charity place with the British Heart Foundation.
He said: “The London Marathon was one of the best and worst experiences of my life, but the amazing crowd gets you through the run even though the last six miles was very challenging.
“I thought of dad every step of the way and I’m so pleased to finish my first marathon in four hours and 29 mins.”
Gary has so far raised over £3,200 – donate to his fundraiser here.
Jess Riley ran the marathon on behalf of the Mental Health charity Mind after her own 17-year battle with various mental health conditions.
Jess has struggled with mental health for over half of her life and spent the majority of that time in and out of hospital.
She has not only been through her own struggles and endless hospital admissions with BPD, anorexia, bulimia, anxiety and PTSD, but Jess has also watched many others suffer and too many lose their lives.
Exercise has always been something Jess has had a very fractured relationship with, but she was determined to raise awareness of mental health conditions.
She said: “Mental ill health needs to be something we can talk about. It needs to be something that when you are struggling you can get the help you need, early on and at the intensity and speciality that you need it. No-one should feel they are not sick enough or that their mental health doesn’t matter.”
Jess set herself a target of finishing the marathon in five-and-a-half hours, but completed it in just under four hours and 50 minutes.
She said: “It was an incredible atmosphere and an absolute honour to run for Mind. It was very heartwarming to see all the runners, their charities, and the amazing support along the way.”
Jess has so far raised over £2,200 – donate to her fundraiser here.
Ian Callaghan, an RAF Veteran from Skellingthorpe, took on the London Marathon to raise money for the Armed Forces charity SSAFA.
The 47-year-old was a former Sergeant in the RAF, serving between 1992 and 2015 as a Mechanical Transport Driver. He served all over the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Falklands, as well as at RAF Waddington and RAF Coningsby closer to home.
Ian is now a Logistics Specialist with the MOD, working at RAF Waddington.
The Forces are a family tradition as his dad Keith Callaghan was a Ground Electrician in the Royal Air Force for 24 years, and his mum Lynn Ward was an RAF telephonist. His nephew Jake McCrudden-Callaghan currently serves in The Grenadier Guards.
As well as running the London Marathon, Ian has taken on the two-mile Serpentine Swim, and the Normanby Hall Adventure Race, and also has a place in next year’s Edinburgh Marathon.
He said: “Coming from a family with strong Armed Forces ties for many generations, I’ve seen how difficult transitioning into civilian life can be and the difficulties family members and friends have faced.
“As a veteran, I’ve seen the fantastic work that SSAFA does for veterans and serving soldiers and their families. I’ll always feel proud to support this charity.”
Ian ran the marathon in a time of 3:51:26. He has so far raised £700 – donate to his fundraiser here.
Rich Bond is a weapons system operator based at RAF Cranwell, who took part in the marathon to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
It was the first full marathon for Rich, who also took part in the Vitality Big Half in August.
He said: “Some of my friends and colleagues have benefited from the services the RAF Benevolent Fund provides. The Fund’s support was invaluable to them, so I wanted to do something to give back to the charity.”
Rich has so far raised over £400 – donate to his fundraiser here.