Thousands of spectators lined the streets of London at the weekend, creating an electric atmosphere for a record number of runners who completed the biggest Virgin Money London Marathon in its history.
More than 38,000 runners took on the gruelling 26.2 mile journey across London on Sunday, raising thousands of pounds for charities up and down the UK.
Heroic fundraisers from across Stamford, Bourne and Rutland, joined club runners, fun runners, celebrities and Guinness World Record hopefuls on their run. Among the runners was marathon champion Paula Radcliffe who completed an emotional final race as a competitive athlete.
The local runners included Liz Clare, 29, from Baston, who completed the marathon in four hours and 50 minutes, running in aid of the Matt Hampson Foundation.
She said: “It was really overwhelming, I started crying just before I reached the finish line, it was all a dream.”
Police officer, Helen Morris, 44, from Stamford completed her first London Marathon in six hours and 40 minutes, raising funds for The British Heart Foundation.
She said: “It was really tough in places but the atmosphere kept me going, though I was pleased when it was all over.”
One of Anna’s Hope fairies, Sarah Parkes, 45, from Stamford donned her fairy wings and completed the marathon in five hours and 32 minutes, raising over £5,000 for the charity.
She said: “I made it! It’s such a relief, it was a fantastic experience and the crowds were amazing.”
Brothers, Paul and Darren Thorley, from Bourne, crossed the finish line just a few minutes between each other. Older brother Darren, 45, completed it in three hours and 37 minutes, whilst Paul achieved three hours and 45 minutes. Darren said: “My brother was hot on my heels all the way - although I’m pleased he didn’t quite catch me this time, I’m proud of him.”
Paul added: “There was a constant wall of noise the whole way through, which made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.”
It was an emotional day for Danielle Tempest, 36, from Bourne who ran the marathon in memory of her sister, Michelle Surtees who lost her battle with cancer 10 years ago.
This was Danielle’s second time running the London marathon, completing it this time at a time of five hours and 41 minutes. She said: “It’s always emotional, especially when you see your family along the way.”
For Caroline Gasper, 40, from Rutland, running the London Marathon this year was a very special occasion as it marked her 10th marathon.
Caroline crossed the finish line at a fast time of three hours and 42 minutes, raising funds for the Dogs Trust. She said: “It was a really special day, the atmosphere was electric and this year really had the Paula factor.”
A number of runners on the day were out supporting the Thorpe Hall Hospice, including Emily Connell, 30, from Stamford, who completed the race in four hours and 40 minutes, shortly after her friend Abigail Yardley, who finished in four hours and 20 minutes.
Emily said: “It was absolutely amazing. For the last mile Chris Evans was running about 100m in front of me and the crowd were going mad.”
Suzanne Ostler from Thorpe Hall was also running on the day for the hospice and managed to reach her target of four hours and 30 minutes.
Friends, Dale Falkner, 31 and Alex Grant, 26, from Bourne ran the marathon together for Meningitis Now, in aid of Dale’s son Sebastian.
The pair crossed the finish line hand in hand at four hours and 43 minutes. Dale said: “The atmosphere was on a whole other level, we both felt very choked up along the way.”
Janine Donlan, 34, from Oakham completed the course in four hours and 29 minutes. She said: “It was hell, you hit so many walls of pain. I tried to run alongside people in whacky outfits to get on the telly.”
Lesley Allen, 51, from Uppingham ran the marathon for a second time in aid of Hospice UK, crossing the finish at exactly the same time as last year, four hours and 15 minutes. She said: “It was a lot harder this time round.”
Beautician, Claire Haggard, from Stamford made it round in four hours and 17 minutes, raising lots of money for the Papworth Trust.
She said: “Crossing the finishing line was amazing, everyone went really quiet and looked at each other, not knowing whether to laugh or cry!”
Marathon mum, Penny Hedley Lewis completed her 10th London Marathon in four hours and 34 minutes, raising thousands of pounds for the British Red Cross.
Penny’s daughters, Melissa and Amanda had a ‘storming’ first half and finished in 4 hours and 15 minutes, along with Penny’s son-in-law, Peter who finished in four hours and 12 minutes.
Twenty one Stamford Striders also took part in London Marathon. For many it was their first attempt, while others took full advantage of the running conditions to clock impressive personal bests.
First home for the club was James Skinner in at two hours and 46 minutes, followed by Jim Morris and Alan Hayes at two hours and 48 minutes.
Caroline Gasper was first lady home for the club followed by Helen Schofield, three hours and 54 minutes and Hilary Cox, four hours and 12 minutes.
Student, Jodie Cunnington, 20, from Stamford completed the marathon in five hours, 18 seconds in aid of Leukaemia Care. She said: “I had an amazing time, the atmosphere was absolutely phenomenal.”
Uffington farmer, James Genever ran the marathon in four hours and 43 minutes in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind. He said: “It was an unforgettable experience and I am back in my tractor today, so I seem to be reasonably unscathed.”
Katie Bangs, 24, from Oakham completed her third London Marathon in memory of her sister Kimberley, raising over £6,000 for Meningitis Now. She said her marathon days were behind her - for now.
Making it at a time of four hours and 31 minutes, she said: “This run was very moving for me, I had floods of tears and joy when I crossed that finish line.”
Care worker, Samantha Wright, 30, from Bainton ran her first marathon in five hours and 18 minutes, raising vital funds for Mind.
She said: “I was so overwhelmed by how many people shout out your name all the way through. They really do carry you around!”
Along with Daniel Wilson, 33, from Castor, who ran for the first time at a fantastic time of three hours and 30 minutes, raising over £2,400 for the NSPCC.
On the same day as the London Marathon, Nick Crowson, 42, from Barnack competed in the Evesham Ultra Marathon which took place in the Cotswolds, with a total 4,000 feet ascent.
Nick, who ran the race in nine hours and 46 minutes for the charity DEBRA said: “Despite being the hardest thing I’ve ever done I really enjoyed it, but I did start to flag at about the 35 mile mark. I can still barely walk!”