Hours of training and preparation will come to a head for runners from across the area as they line up at the start of the Virgin Money London Marathon tomorrow.
Here are just a few of those who will tackle the 26.2-mile course around the capital in aid of charities:
Melanie Tudor and Imran Zaman: A humanitarian charity which provides vital mapping information to aid agencies following environmental disasters will benefit from money raised by two Maidenhead runners.
Imran Zaman, 35, decided to run for MapAction due to its close relationship with his work at Reading’s Landmark Information Group.
In the aftermath of disasters such as earthquakes and floods, MapAction helps identify which areas have not been reached and who needs aid the most.
Imran, who lives in Rutland Place, has been tackling the towpaths of Cookham during his preparation for the marathon.
He ran his first marathon from Nice to Cannes in November, posting a time of three hours 46 minutes.
“In terms of getting round and doing it, I feel confident so it’s just putting pressure on myself to beat my time from France,” he said.
He also paid tribute to his one-year-old daughter Rosie Pages Zaman for not disrupting his sleep during the night in the run-up to the big race.
Mother-of-three Melanie Tudor, who lives in Furze Platt Road, said she has the Star Runners group to thank for her rapid progress in running.
The 42-year-old has been running with the group, which is made up of mums from Alwyn Infant School and Furze Platt Junior School, every Monday and Friday since September.
Melanie said: “I’ve learnt so much from them. Secretly I’d like to do the race in under four hours now.”
David Atkinson: The 41-year-old from Cookham hopes to raise more than £3,000 for CLIC Sargent.
He was inspired to take part after running the Windsor Half Marathon last year.
The father-of-one said: “I’m not a runner, or at least I wasn’t up until a year ago, so I’ve had to learn how to run properly.
“I’d love to raise as much as possible for the charity, the goal is to simply get round. I’ve been training in the gym after work as it’s nicer than running on winter mornings.
“I feel confident but I am also anxious. I’ve done all the miles that I need to do – last week I ran 20 miles in Dorney.”
David will be supported by his wife Sophie and their son Theo on the day, who will be watching from the sidelines.
Visit justgiving.com/David-Atkinson2016 to donate.
Jon Miller: This year marks the first attempt by Jon Miller, from Twyford, who was determined to run the marathon before he turns 40.
The 39-year-old IT consultant will run for United Response, a disability charity that supports people with learning and physical difficulties, and mental health issues.
He hopes to raise £1,500 for the charity which helped his sister deal with her disabilities following brain damage suffered when she was young.
Jon said: “I had always wanted to do the London Marathon. I have done half-marathons before but it turns out the full marathon is more than double that.”
His sister Lindsay Goodridge, 46, underwent keyhole surgery on a heart problem when she was two and suffered mental health complications from it. At the time, Jon said his parents were told she would ‘never live a normal life’.
She is now married, with a son in sixth form, and has had a number of different jobs, thanks to the support of United Response.
Jon said: “She is thrilled and very supportive as well.”
On Tuesday, Jon exceeded his £1,500 fundraising target. He said: “Everyone has been very supportive. Even the guy who services my car – he took £10 off the bill and said ‘stick that in your fundraiser’.”
He will be joined in London by his wife Elizabeth and sons James, eight, and Oliver, four.
Visit virginmoneygiving.com/jonmtmiller to donate.
Nadia Ferriday: Fitting in training around work is as much of a challenge as the marathon for one fundraising runner.
Nadia, from Burnham, is taking to London’s streets for the second year in a row fundraising for the British Lung Foundation.
The Kinnaird Close resident, who works for British Airways, said: “It is hard to train around work but I fit it in before or after and thena do my long runs on the weekend. I really enjoy running and the community spirit and the spirit of marathon day.
“Everyone thought I was mad to sign up again but I love it.”
The British Heart Foundation is a cause close to the 52-year-old’s heart. Nadia’s father Antonio Fratta died in 2013 after living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder for a number of years.
Nadia herself also has sports-induced asthma but finds that running has helped considerably.
Visit virginmoneygiving.com/NadiaFerriday to donate.
Paula Buckland: The Bray resident will be running for Cancer Research UK in honour of her son’s school friend.
The 38-year-old was inspired to run for Kobey Muller, who attends Braywick Court School with her son William.
Kobey was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer in 2012 and had six months of chemotherapy treatment
Paula is hoping to raise ‘as much as possible’ for the charity.
She said: “Kobey has been through so much and I knew his family were supporters of Cancer Research UK so when I found out I had a ballot place I just knew I had to run for them.
“I’m not a natural runner but it has motivated me going out for a run – when I think about everything that Kobey goes through, it’s a small price to pay. I’ve been training by doing the school run, I’ve got a running buggy for my son Rowan and William will cycle along beside me.
“Last week I ran from Eton to Marlow so I have also been doing long runs but I’m anxious about the race.”
Visit justgiving.com/Paula-Buckland to donate.
Tim Waggett: As he waits for the starting gun to fire, Tim will be gearing up for the biggest race of his life.
It’s a daunting challenge facing the 57-year-old father-of-two, from Furze Platt, who started running in 2008.
Since then he has competed several times in the Maidenhead Easter 10 and completed three Maidenhead Half Marathons.
He will be racing in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, in memory of his father, Alan, who died last year.
“I decided to enter after I watched the marathon last year and was inspired to enter the ballot, thinking it was something I should do before I get too old, and was lucky enough to win a place.”
He added: “My family [wife Kay, son Sam and daughter Georgia] have gone from thinking I couldn’t do it to really looking forward to getting to watch me.”
Visit virginmoneygiving.com/TimWaggett to donate.
Terry Adlam: Hitting the roads of London once again after a break of nearly 30 years is Advertiser columnist Terry.
The 56-year-old, from Cippenham, who last ran the marathon in 1987, is running in aid of the UK’s largest eating disorder charity, b-eat. His eldest daughter Claudia, 18, is recovering from anorexia.
Terry, who is chairman of the Slough Writers group, wanted to set himself a challenge as well as help a good cause.
The Marina Way resident said: “Training is going well, with good and bad runs, but I am enjoying it and have joined a local gym and recently completed 21 miles. Was it harder than I thought? Not really, it was what I expected but my legs moan a lot though.
“People keep asking me what time would I like to finish by and I reply – before it gets dark!
“I’m not setting myself a time to finish as I just want to complete the course and enjoy the day and raise lots of money.”
Visit virginmoneygiving.com/TerryAdlam to donate.
Matthew Tickle: A marathon veteran is hoping to beat his personal best on Sunday.
Matthew, 47, of Bradshaw Close, Windsor, is taking on his fifth marathon to raise money for Christian Aid.
The IT worker took up running for fitness and spends the rest of his free time playing trumpet in the Windsor Brass Collective, which he set up about five years ago.
He will be supported by wife Tracy and other family members who are hoping to catch a glimpse of him at three different locations along the course. This year, his two teenage daughters, Isabelle, 17, and Hannah, 15, have opted to watch their dad from the comfort of the sofa.
About beating his best time of 3:43 Matthew said: “The mind may be willing, but my body is six years older so it will depend on conditions on the day.
“As a family we love Christian Aid, the things they do are fantastic.”
Visit justgiving.com/Matthew-Tickle2 to donate.
Gillian Bailey & Hazel Shaw: A mother daughter team from Windsor are taking on the marathon for Guide Dogs UK.
Three weeks after her 59th birthday Gillian Bailey, now 60, decided it was now or never if she wanted to run the London Marathon.
Gillian is registered blind so daughter Hazel Shaw, 29, stepped up and offered to be her guide.
The pair got to grips with the running together using a tether but progressed to running just using warnings.
Hazel said: “Mum has some sight but it’s hard to see things if she is moving.
“So when we’re running and there is a kerb I can say ‘one, two, three kerb’ so now she can actually run at it without having to stop.
“Obviously we know each other really well, but sometimes that doesn’t help, we would maybe be more patient with each other if we were more professional.”
The pair, of Oak Lane, started writing a blog about their experiences which can be found, along with a donation page at gillandhazelrun.wordpress.com/donate
Emily Burrows: First time marathoner Emily took up running two years ago in the run up to her wedding.
The 28-year-old from Eton ran a half marathon in September 2014 and enjoyed it so much that she decided to apply for this year’s London Marathon. She lives in Willow Brook, Eton, with husband Joe who is a Russian teacher at Eton College.
“At school I was the kid that used to find any excuse to get out of PE lessons,” said Emily.
“I took up running about two years ago before I got married. I ended up doing a half marathon and I really enjoyed it.”
Emily is raising money for Imperial College Healthcare Charity which runs St Mary’s Hospital where she has worked in the finance department for two years.
She has already nearly doubled her £500 target.
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EmilyBurrows to donate.
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