Thousands of runners will take to the streets of London this weekend (Sunday 17 April), for the 31st Virgin London Marathon.

Many come from an equestrian background or are running for an equine cause and need your support.

The 26.2mile route will take runners around London, starting in Greenwich Park, around Docklands, past Tower Hill and along the Embankment and finishing at St James’s Park.

Andy Stringer veterinary director from the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) will be undertaking the run wearing an enormous donkey costume, weighing 17kg.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Andy. “It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness for an amazing charity. It’s going to be a tough challenge, but I can’t wait to get out on the track and help to raise awareness of SPANA. If anybody is coming along to the marathon, please look out for the donkey and give me a cheer.”

www.justgiving.com/andy-spanamarathon

World Horse Welfare deputy chief executive Tony Tyler will be running tomorrow.

“Having reached the grand old age of 50 I thought I had better do something silly like try and run another marathon,” he said.

“Too many good friends and colleagues have suffered with cancer in the last 2 years. Sadly some have lost that fight others have survived. With your help more could beat this dreadful disease so please sponsor me whatever you can and I will do my best to get round the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon.”

www.runningsponsorme.org/tonytyler1

Sarah Baker who works for The Pony Club is running for Macmillan Cancer Support.

“It has always been an ambition of mine to run the London Marathon and after my horse injured his suspensory ligament back in September and required six months off work it seemed like the perfect opportunity to train, while supporting a charity which is close to my heart,” she said.

www.justgiving.com/Sarah-L-Baker

Ronke Phillips running for the Ebony Horse Club, a riding centre for disadvantaged children in Brixton.

Sponsor Ronke

Dressage rider Daniel Timson will be running in aid of Spinal Research for the second year in a row. www.justgiving.com/Danieltimson

H&H photographer Trevor Meeks is running for the first time and has been training since September.

“I started training in the gym on the treadmill, and as they train horses uphill I’m also running on an incline — and it seems to be working. I’m also eating like a horse,” said Trevor.

“I’ve always admired people who run marathons and it’s been a sneaking ambition of mine to do one before I’m 65. I’ll be 64 when I run it so this was my last chance.

“If I finish in between five and six hours I’ll be pleased.”

Trevor will be running on aid of the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK. He is aiming to raise £2,000.

To sponsor Trevor, visit: www.justgiving.com/trevor-meeks

Racehorse trainer Stef Higgins is running in aid of the NSPCC. www.justgiving.com/stefhiggins

Simon Waterhouse, a partner at Newmarket Equine Hospital, is doing a double marathon challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK and the Neuroblastoma Society

He will run London Marathon dressed as Buzz Lightyear. A month later he will run the Edinburgh marathon. www.justgiving.com/siwaterhouse

A team from the Countryside Alliance is also running — including Georgia Plimbley — student and first-time runner

Will Day — head trail layer of the New Forest Hounds

Kelly Smith — wife of Bill Smith, senior master to the Hursley Hambledon.

Miles Underwood — yard manager at the Beaufort Polo Club

Kate Reynolds — point-to-point rider, team chaser and eventer

Andy Rudge — five time marathon runner and keen fisherman.

“Life in the countryside involves plenty of nerve and commitment and there can be no greater test of that than running the marathon, which our exceptional six-strong team is undertaking,” said Alice Barnard CA chief executive. “The team runs for everyone who loves the countryside and wants to enjoy it while protecting it for future generations. Please support our runners, they deserve it.”

www.countryside-alliance.org.uk/blogcategory/virgin-london-marathon-2011/

And there is a team running for Racing Welfare.

Sponsor Bryan Elliott

Sponsor Brian Bunyan

Sponsor Bob ling

Sponsor Sam Sangster

Sponsor Greg Davus

Five people are also running in aid of The Brooke

Jeannine Williamson www.justgiving.com/Jeannine-Williamson0

Donna Ransom www.justgiving.com/donnamarathon

Sue Hall www.justgiving.com/suesfinalrun

Angela Bushell www.justgiving.com/Angela-Bushell

Keen rider Sophie Soskin is running for the Spinal Injuries Association.

“I chose this charity is that I had a bad riding accident out hunting almost a year ago and was very lucky not to injury my spinal cord,” she said. “I have seen firsthand how my life could have been affected daily. I want to contribute to improving the quality of life for those who suffer from spinal injuries in the future.”

http://www.justgiving.com/Sophie-Soskin

Sian Firth is running for the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys. www.justgiving.com/Sian-Firth

Not running but on hand will be the British vaulting team’s chef d’equipe Lucy Bell, who will be working as a physio on Sunday.

“Each year a big group of physios from all over the country come together to assist all those tired runners both at the finish line and at points along the route. We very busy but the atmosphere is fantastic. We treat both injuries picked up on the way and also a lot of soft tissue work for all those tired muscles.”

If you are running with an equestrian interest please contact us.

Email: amy_mathieson@ipcmedia.com