This Sunday, thousands of runners will be pounding the streets of the capital for the Virgin London Marathon. They will include entrants from across East Berkshire determined to complete the 26.2 mile route.
Sam Wildman will be running in memory of her husband who died of blood cancer six years ago.
Richard Wildman died at the age of 37 within a year of being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
His wife Sam and their two children, Rebecca, 15, and nine-year-old Harry, have been raising money for charity ever since, and this year Sam will be running the London Marathon to raise funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
She said: "I'm running for this charity to ensure no family has to suffer the loss of a husband, a daddy, or any person they love.
"His death made us realise how fragile life is. You have only got one shot."
Although she never believed she would run a marathon, since taking on the challenge Sam has become a keen runner.
"Running that far is going to be hard, but when you think about what you’re doing it for it pushes you forward."
To support Sam go to www.justgiving.com/samantha-wildman or JustTextGiving SEAL78.
A life-threatening blood loss after childbirth left Jennifer McGeachie determined to find a way of helping other mums.
Now Jennifer, 29, of Albany Road, Old Windsor - who is the daughter of the village's Parish Council chairman Jane Dawson - has found the answer.
She is teaming with her sister Joanna to run the London Marathon.
The mother-of-two said: "We're running to raise money for a very small UK charity called Women and Children First who work to save mothers and their babies in developing countries during pregnancy and childbirth."
Jennifer had the advantage of the expert team at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough.
She said: "After a pioneering surgery by the consultant there Mr Raafat I made a full recovery. Had I been born elsewhere in the world, and certainly if in the developing world, I would not have survived."
London marathon is our biggest fundraising target yet [£4000]."
Visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/jenmcg to support her.
There is a first time for everything - and this year's London Marathon will be a first for 27-year-old accountant Dan Moriarty.
He is no stranger to half marathons.
He has done six in fact.
He said: "When I did my first I hated it. I thought 'this is stupid'.
"Then the minute I had finished I wanted to do another. It is addictive.
"I thought it is time to take a step up and try a marathon and to make it a local charity."
He has chosen St John Ambulance.
Dan, who is married, lives in Beverley Gardens, Furze Platt.
You can support him by visiting www.justgiving.com/daniel-moriarty
An Olympic torchbearer and running enthusiast will be taking on the 26-mile run in aid of the Anthony Nolan charity.
Gareth Nicholls, from Bray, will be running the London Marathon for the charity, which registers bone marrow matches and blood stem cells so that blood cancer sufferers can have lifesaving transplants.
43-year-old Gareth has been raising money for the charity since he was in his 20s and is currently in charge of the Maidenhead Friends of Anthony Nolan group.
So far he has managed to raise £2,000 in sponsorship for this year’s marathon.
He said: “I want to raise awareness about Anthony Nolan because not that many people know what they do.
“They’re so important. Registering donors should be akin to giving blood.”
Despite suffering with a knee injury, Gareth is determined to power on and he not only runs to work every morning but goes on 22-mile jogs at the weekends.
Visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/gnicholls to sponsor Gareth.
The story of his triplet brother's triumph against the odds will motivate Tim Rogers.
The 24-year-old from Penyston Road, Maidenhead, is running to raise money for the National Autistic Society, inspired by one of his brothers, Chris.
Chris was diagnosed with autism aged seven. But despite finding it tough to communicate he now has a job and volunteers at the library. National Autistic Society statistics show that only 15 per cent of adults are in full-time employment.
Tim, a physiotherapist at Physioworld in Slough and Reading, said: "My brother Chris has fought so hard to get to where he is today.
"Whenever I'm struggling to find the motivation to train for the marathon or to run that extra mile, I just think of Chris and what he's been through to get to where he is today."
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TimothyRogersNAS to support Tim.
Where better to train for a long run than Windsor's Long Walk?
Angela Irvine has been pushing herself to the limit in the Great Park in preparation for her first London Marathon.
The 50-year-old is raising money for The Molly Watt Trust.
It is an awareness charity set up by Oldfield teenager Molly Watt, who has battled ignorance of Usher Syndrome throughout her young life.
Molly, from Oldacres, has limited eyesight and hearing because of the condition.
Angela first met Molly's mum, Jane, as regulars at Starbucks in Taplow and later met the teenager.
The recruitment and business coach said the 19-year-old's resilience 'struck a chord'.
Angela, who lives in Windsor, said: "It just had to be Molly. She's just amazing. She doesn't let her disability stand in her way.
She added: "She's an inspiration to people who say they can't do it. She can, everyone can. She's a great role model for people and inspires you to think you can still achieve."
Angela hopes to raise £3,000 for the trust.
Visit mydonate.bt.com/events/mollywattmarathon to donate.
A headteacher will tackle the course to raise money in memory of her son Jacob.
Cookham Rise Primary School's Helen Daniels lost her son when he was just two-years-old and the Maidenhead resident is collecting in aid of Starlight Children's Foundation, which grants wishes for ill children.
The 41-year-old has surpassed her original goal of £1,500 and is hoping to top £6,000 by the end of her run.
Cookham Nursery School, Cookham Dean Primary School and Cookham's Rainbow group have all held fundraisers to support the headteacher ahead of her first ever marathon.
"My son died six years ago at the age of two and we donated money to Starlight at the time in his memory," she said.
"Now I have the opportunity to run for Starlight it will help this fantastic cause and also give me the opportunity to do something in Jacob's memory."
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HelenDaniels to sponsor Helen.
Journalist Sarah Parfitt will be hoping her 13th marathon proves lucky after winning her place through the Cookham Running Club ballot.
The mum-of-two has been training with friend Rachel Harding, who is gearing up for the Milton Keynes Marathon.
Both runners will support Holy Trinity Primary School and Cookham Nursery School.
Walker Books has pledged to donate a book for every mile the pair run and the TTS group will donate a piece of sports equipment every four miles.
Sarah, who lives in High Road, has been following a 12-week programme to get up to speed.
"Fitting the training in with my work and family commitments has meant quite a few 5.30am starts, but I am used to that as a mother," she said.
"It's a battle of the mind more than it is the body. I'll definitely get round.
"The support we have received from the Cookham Running Club has been nothing short of amazing."
Visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/cookhammarathonmums to sponsor Sarah.
Music by will.i.am and Miley Cyrus will be playing in the ears of a Burnham mum to ensure she flies around the famous city circuit like a wrecking ball.
Louise Davies, 30 of High Street, is running in support of the Rotary Club of Burnham Beeches' End Polio Now campaign.
She has been supported in her training by the team at Burnham Joggers for her midweek runs, but has been up at the crack of dawn at weekends to train.
"With two small children it's the only time I can fit it in," said the mother of Tansie, seven, and Fleur, four.
With the final preparatory 21-mile run in her rear view mirror and her £1,500 fundraising target reached she is focused on running under four hours and 20 minutes.
Visit www.justgiving.com/louisedaviesmarathon to donate.
Dad-of-two Matthew Slaney from Taplow is running to raise £1,500 for a new interactive projector at Wexham Park Hospital's children's ward.
Its staff have cared for his son Toby after his diagnosis with Panayiotopoulos syndrome.
The six-year-old was rushed to hospital after experiencing a long-lasting seizure in his sleep three years ago, and has been back many times since.
"I am running in recognition of all the wonderful staff at Wexham Park who have helped us as a family," said the 49-year-old from Taplow.
"Dr Domna [Alexopoulou] and her team have not only looked after Toby so well but they have helped us cope and adapt as a family and we want to give something back."
Toby and his brother Ethan are proud of their dad and will be waiting to take him for a beer once he has crossed the finishing line.
Visit www.justgiving.com/matthewslaney to support their 300 Fivers for Toby's Projector fund.
Three is the magic number for a man from Stoke Poges who plans to run three marathons in three months.
In 2009 Russell Cook was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome or 'MDS' and had to endure three transplants so he decided to do something special to celebrate three years since his last operation.
Russell said: “I knew had to do something dramatic so I decided to run three marathons for three charities over three months to celebrate my third anniversary.”
The 54-year-old has just got back from running the Rome Marathon and will run in Edinburgh in May.
He added: “I was lucky enough to have a huge group of friends who stepped in and helped out when I was diagnosed.
“A lot of people do not know who to speak to which is where charities like MDS support, Leukaemia Care and Antony Nolan step in.”
Visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RussellCook to sponsor Russell.
A restaurant manager is hoping to stir up plenty of money for a disability charity in his third London Marathon.
Winston Matthews, of Wood Street, Colnbrook, works at Kettner's restaurant in London and has been getting up at 5am every morning to train before he starts work.
He said: "Training is the hardest part, I try to run 3-4 times a week and do a couple of gym sessions, all followed by a day’s work."
The 48-year-old is raising money for United Response, which supports people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities to take control of their lives.
He added: "Running for United Response really appealed to me.
"There are many charities that look after the very young and old, but very few that support people in between - I was particularly interested in the support that the charity provides for young disabled adults looking for work.”
Visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/winstonmatthews to sponsor Winston.
A nurse who saved her sister's life by donating stem cells is running.
Julia Markham gave bone marrow to her sister Deborah Clements, 54, after she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2001.
The transplant took place in 2005, after Deborah went into remission in 2004 but relapsed.
Julia and her two other sisters, Vanessa and Becky, were tested and the 49-year-old was found to be a match.
She said: "I would do it all again in a heartbeat."
Deborah's cancer went into remission following the transplant, but she now suffers from Graft versus Host Disease.
Julia, who works at the Bridge Clinic in Bridge Road, Maidenhead will be taking part in the marathon for the second time, along with Deborah, Vanessa, and her daughter Victoria Hillier.
The group will be raising money for blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, which helps find matches for bone marrow transplants and provides support to people with blood cancer.
Julia, who lives in Dedworth, said: "We hope to raise awareness of the Anthony Nolan register and get more people to sign up to it.
"People who are volunteering to donate their stem cells for complete strangers are amazing."
Visit justgiving.com/theLymphomaniacs to sponsor Julia and the group.
The Express and Advertiser-backed mission to build Berkshire's first children's hospice will be supported by Maura Farrelly.
The mother-of-three and grandmother discovered a competitive streak when she signed up with work colleagues to do a marathon.
While they all trained with PE teachers, she managed it alone - with just her dog for company.
She ran her first marathon in Dublin in 2009 and has never looked back.
She will be running for the Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service, based in Slough and founded by Dedworth parents John and Fiona Devine, and Catholic aid agency Cafod.
Maura, 48, from Reading, runs regularly with the Reading Joggers Running Club and used the town's half marathon earlier this year as a training run.
She began her fundraising efforts by dressing as a leprechaun on St Patricks Day and rattling a bucket in the grounds of Blessed Hugh Faringdon Secondary School in Fawley Road, Reading, where she teaches, raising £80 from students and staff.
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/maurafarrelly to sponsor her.
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