Marathon effort up in the capital

MARATHON men and women descended on the capital for the latest instalment of the London Marathon – raising millions for good causes in the process.

Flying the flag for Woking were residents from all corners of the borough, WWF-UK supporters, running groups, and charity volunteers.

STAR - Shooting Star CHASE runner Teresa Devitt

STAR – Shooting Star CHASE runner Teresa Devitt

James McKechnie, 28, from West Byfleet, was one such standard-bearer, raising £3,380 for Parkinson’s UK. He completed the 26.2-mile challenge in five hours and 14 minutes on the last day of Parkinson’s Awareness Week.

James, whose dad Ian was diagnosed in 2007 aged 59, explained: “I have wanted to run the London Marathon for a while, so I’m pleased to have achieved my ambition.

“The fact that I could also support a fantastic charity like Parkinson’s UK at the same time made the experience even more worthwhile. I am delighted to have completed the course and I’ve enjoyed the whole experience.

“The adrenaline rush you get from the crowds and supporters while you are running is like no other.”

Also savouring the buzz of the London air were a team from panda-loving WWF-UK, who appropriately completed the circuit in black and white vests.

WWF-UK Director of Public Engagement, Colin Butfield, 40, Sustainable Finance and Corporate Risk Officer, Andrea Marandino, 31, Brand Expression Officer, Joe Dix, 27, and Research Officer, Clare Wilkinson, 25, all ran the route, raising thousands of pounds between them.

“I made the cardinal sin of setting off much too quickly as I seemed to get swept along with the crowd,” explained Clare post-race.

“By 10 miles in I was feeling pretty ill. However from mile 18 onwards, after battling through, it all seemed possible and I just had to keep going. The support was fantastic and the post-run massage provided by Team Panda was amazing.”

A cake sale held in March at The Living Planet Centre raised nearly £300, which the runners hope will go towards the WWF’s work to help combat illegal wildlife trade and ensure endangered rhino and elephant species are protected in Africa.

Runners also joined the 36,000-strong wave of people cutting through the city’s streets, Sandie Walpole, Mary Tibbotts, Jane Ford, Ben Wisdom, Dave French and Rich Dow taking their place alongside Olympian Mo Farah and Paralympic star David Weir in the famous race.

They collectively raised more than £12,200 for charities including Macmillan, Woking Hospice, Orangutan Appeal UK, and WWF. The event serves as a welcome boost to charity coffers, with Shooting Star Chase among the number of local causes to benefit from fundraising missions.

A total of 67 runners adorned the Shooting Star colours over the weekend, including Teresa Devitt.

Capturing all the action on the day was young photographer Katie Ferry, who said: “It really was a very good day with loads of supporters and runners.”

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