Among the thousands of runners taking to the streets of the capital for the Virgin London Marathon this weekend (Sunday 21 April) will be stalwarts of the equestrian world and those fundraising for equine causes. They all need your support.
Triple Badminton champion-turned-cross-country course designer Ian Stark, 59, is running for the charity Sparks. He is aiming to beat the time he recorded last time he tackled a marathon, 10 years ago.
“I did it in 5hr 3min then, but I had to walk the last two or three miles due to a knee problem. I said I’d never do it again, but I thought I was getting older and fatter and I needed to get fit, so I started running again and quite enjoyed it,” he said.
This will be a first marathon attempt for Swedish eventer Anna Hilton , 50. She is raising money for the children’s charity Barnardo’s. “I’ve never done anything like it before, so it’s quite nerve-racking,” she admitted.
Showing judge Sarah Gwilliam is running in aid of Kidney Research, raising money in memory of her grandmother who died at Christmas of kidney failure. Sarah has competed at Horse of the Year Show and the Royal International as well as being a British Show Horse Association ride panel judge.
Five runners will be fundraising for the Countryside Alliance — Charlie Warner, William Smyth-Osbourne, Megan Waller, Rollo Patrick and David Fitch-Peyton.
Rollo, who manages the 151 Club on the King’s Road in Chelsea, claims not to have done any exercise for 10 years before agreeing to run the Marathon last December.
David, a thoroughbred stud farm manager and drummer with the folk/rock band Billy in the Lowground, ran the race for the Alliance in 2004. The 49-year-old hopes to beat his previous time of 3hrs 13min this time out.
The racing industry has a strong representation this year, with 11 runners sweating out for Racing Welfare including Phil White, general manager for Kempton Park racecourse, jockey Garry Haynes and Gordon Allen, head lad for (formerly) Barry and (currently) Charlie Hills.
Open team chase rider Andrew Shipley will be raising money for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance. He is running in memory of his former Lycetts; A Class Act team-mate Jo Rugman, who died on 6 March 2011 following a rotational fall at the VWH team chase.
Nic Van Gelder, a special constable for Haringey in North London, will be donning a giant donkey costume to raise money for international working animal charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad).
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (18 April 2013)