Months of gruelling preparation will come to fruition on Sunday when runners join the thousands taking part in the 2012 Virgin London Marathon. A hospital matron and a priest are among the charitable athletes from Maidenhead, Slough, Windsor and surrounding areas. Meet our runners and leave your good luck messages in the comment box below.
A determined mother-of-four is running to help the charity that supported her younger son.
Emilly Carter, 41, from Ashley Park, in Maidenhead will be lacing up her trainers in aid of Heartline which helps children with heart defects and their families.
Five-year-old Charlie was diagnosed with a major congenital heart defect when he was just one week old.
“Heartline have been my strength and sanity at some very difficult times,” said?Emilly.
Having never done more than a 10-minute jog round the block, Emilly has been training hard to make sure she can complete the gruelling challenge.
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/emillycarter to boost Emilly’s fundraising efforts.
A hospital matron was inspired by her father to tackle her first marathon.
Julia Markham, 47, of St George’s Close, in Maidenhead has only ever run 5km before. But she is now preparing to run the gruelling 26-mile route to raise £1,800 for Arthritis Research UK in memory of her father Brian who battled the disease.
He died aged 71 in 2008 following complications from knee replacement surgery.
The mother-of-two said: “Primarily I’m running in memory of my dad and the bravery he showed throughout his battle with rheumatoid arthritis.
“I’ve also nursed many people suffering from the disease, so I have personal and professional motivations. It really is a horrible disease and I want to help in anyway I can.”
Julia has been matron at Maidenhead’s Bridge Clinic for four years. She has also worked for Thames Hospicecare and Princess Margaret Hospital, both in Windsor.
A charity which helped Kendra Richgels’ daughter after she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease will receive her sponsorship money.
The 40-year-old lawyer from Rushington Avenue in Maidenhead chose to support Coeliac UK after Delaney, five, was diagnosed with coeliac disease, caused by an intolerance to gluten.
Kendra said: “The support, advice and assistance we received from Coeliac UK when Delaney was diagnosed was amazing.”
Originally from Minnesota in America, Kendra has run nine marathons before but this is her first in Europe.
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KendraRichgels to sponsor her.
The Olympics have inspired a mother-of-three from Burnham to run her first marathon in aid of a helpline for distressed children.
Abbi Watson, 33, of Buttermere Ave-nue, hopes to post a time of less than four hours 30 minutes when she runs in aid of the NSPCC’s ChildLine.
“I decided to take part as 2012 is the year the Olympics comes to town,” said Abbi.
“As the mother of three boys, who I love dearly, I am very aware of the stories in the press and headlines on the news that illustrate not all kids are as lucky as mine.”
Abbi is mother to 13-year-old George, Harrison, 11, and Alfie, three.
ChildLine is a free 24-hour helpline for children in danger or distress.
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AbbiWatson to support her.
Running his fifth London Marathon is 39-year-old Richard Stabbins from Windsor.
Money he raises will go towards Rotary International’s End Polio Now campaign. Richard’s dad is retired Dedworth dentist Adrian Stabbins who, with his wife Veronica, has been busy vaccinating children against polio in the slums of Delhi.
Ex-Windsor Boys School pupil Richard lives in Windsor with his wife Sarah and daughter Charlotte.
He hopes to raise more than £3,000.
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/richardstabbins to sponsor him.
This year’s marathon will be the sixth a father-of-three from Great Hill Crescent has run.
Jonathan ‘BJ’ Pegg, 50, of Maidenhead has also completed nearly 100 half-marathons to date and treats running as a hobby.
When asked if he was looking forward to it, Jonathan, who works for Fujitsu in Bracknell, joked: “No because I know how much it’s going to hurt.”
Arsenal supporter Jonathan will be dressed in a tutu to raise money for The Willow Foundation; a charity set up by former Gunners goalkeeper Bob Wilson in memory of his daughter. The foundation provides special day experiences for seriously ill 16 to 40-year-olds.
Visit www.justgiving.com/jonathan-pegg0 to sponsor him.
A mum-of-two from Twyford is in training to run her fourth marathon in aid of Daisy’s Dream on Sunday.
Lisa Bain, 40, the owner of the Tile and Bathroom Place in Twyford High Street, says she hopes to achieve her best-ever time in the London Marathon by dipping under 4 hours 18 minutes.
Lisa is set to run with her mother Marilyn, 58, and her uncle Keith, both from Newport, South Wales, and hopes to raise £1,000 for the Berkshire children’s ber-eavement support charity.
Lisa is also organising a marathon-themed pub quiz at the Duke of Wellington pub in Twyford High Street on Thursday, April 26 to top up her fundraising proceeds.
She has completed three marathons including the New York Marathon in 2005.
“This is my fourth marathon in my 40th year and I hope to complete it in less than four hours,” she said.
A marathon runner hopes her fundraising will help a charity to grant the wishes of seriously ill children.
Mel Matthews, 36, from Marlow, is raising money for Starlight Children’s Foundation, which brightens the lives of seriously and terminally ill children.
Mel, who works for a firm called Juicy Lucy, said: “I really love what Starlight does so it was the perfect charity to choose.”Visit www.justgiving.com/Melissa-matthews2012 for details.
An assistant headteacher has been given a helping hand by generous pupils at Alwyn Infants School as she prepares to run her first marathon.
Children held a non-uniform day and cake sale at the Mulberry Walk school to help Katharine Smith raise money for Children with Cancer UK.
The 33-year-old from Pinkneys Green in Maidenhead has been training five days a week since November.
She said: “Being a teacher I really wanted to raise money for a children’s charity and this is one I already support through the school.
“The pupils have been incredible helping me to raise money. A girl from the nursery school even told me she was saving up her pocket money so she could sponsor me. I was very touched.”
She is hoping to raise £3,000 in total. Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KatharineSmith
An ex-serviceman will be running the marathon in support of his injured comrades.
Gary Flint, 46, of Royal Cottages, Cookham Dean Common, served for more than 12 years in the Royal Corps of Signals from the age of 16.
Despite suffering from injuries sustained while he was serving, Gary, a technical author, runs two or three half marathons a year, including the inaugural Maidenhead Half Marathon last year.
Gary, who also takes part in the annual Boxing Day Games and the Gravity Grand Prix in Cookham Dean, always makes a point of giving his marathon medals to his young neighbour Pippa Largey, six.
He hopes to raise £3,000 for BLESMA – The Limbless Veterans, which helps wounded servicemen and women who have lost limbs, the use of limbs or eyes to rebuild their lives.
He said: “It is tragic that men and women are losing limbs in the service of our country and the lifestyle of these previously fit individuals is transformed in a split second.
“This really is the most deserving of charities.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/Gary-Flint to donate.
A husband-and-wife team will be power-walking all the way to the finish line on Sunday to raise money for The Royal British Legion.
Simon, 47, and Lesley Graves, 46, who live in Waltham Road, White Waltham, are aiming to walk the route in under eight hours.
The couple, who have been married for more than 20 years, are members of the Woodlands Park branch of the legion and are hoping to raise as much money as possible.
“We’ve been involved with the legion for about 10 years so we wanted to do something to raise funds for them,” said Simon.
“We’re a bit apprehensive about the marathon but we’re confident we’ll get through it together.”
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LesleyGraves to sponsor them.
She completed the New York Marathon in November last year.
Now Reverend Janet Binns, 53, of Eton, is gearing up for the London Marathon to raise much-needed funds to help churches put on community events leading up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Janet is an associate priest in Eton, Eton Wick and Dorney, but her primary role is that of the Olympic and Paralympic coordinator for the Diocese of Oxford.
She will take up a role in the Athletes Village in Stratford where she will be a chaplain during the Olympics and at Dorney Lake during the Paralympics and organise community events inspired by the Games.
She says: “There is a church at the heart of every community with an enormous amount of expertise, pool of volunteers and the ability to lead the way in community engagement with the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a catalyst for change.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/RevJanetBinns to support her work.
Sanjay Sharma is running in memory of his father Krishan Kumar Sharma.
The 43-year-old of Crauford Rise in Maidenhead who works as a hotel manager at A J Lodge in Slough, lost his father in November 2009 from a sudden cardiac arrest. Mr Sharma, father-of-one, said: "My father was a fit and healthy man so this came as a major shock to all the family and his friends."
He has already raised more than £2,000 for Heart UK's Maidenhead branch and is looking forward to his first ever major challenge. Sponsor him at
Surgeon Robin Allum is running on behalf of the head injury association Headway.
Robin, in his early 60s, works at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, and at Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot.
He hopes to raise between £1,500 and £2,000.
In 2010 he ran the marathon with his daughter, Lucinda. His best time is 3hr 19mins.
He is a knee and trauma surgeon and has competed in six marathons and 90 half marathons.
He has three daughters and lives in Farnham Common and is pictured left, with daughter Julia.
“The charity Headway has an excellent record in dealing with very serious and disabling head injuries,” said Robin.
Sponsorship cheques, made payable to Headway, can be sent to Terry Pattinson at the Slough Express, 48 Bell Street, Maidenhead, Berks, SL6 1HX.
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The Met Office has issued a yellow alert for Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough and Wokingham, warning that rain moving eastwards across the south of the country may turn to snow in some places.