Horse charities are set to benefit from this year’s Virgin London Marathon (13 April), with several runners representing them.
7 hunt supporters have swapped their long boots for trainers in support of The Countryside Alliance Foundation (TCAF), ranging from a schoolgirl to a duo from the Portman hunt.
Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said: “Our team comes from a variety of backgrounds, but they are united in their love of the countryside and passion for hunting.
56-year-old Sharon Baldwin — secretary to national hunt trainer Fergal O’Brien — is running in her first marathon and hopes to finish in less than 3hr45min. She has ridden in point-to-points and has completed several half-marathons.
“The countryside is, and always has been, very close to my heart,” said Sharon.
Portman joint-master Charlie Gundry and kennel-huntsman Thomas Baker are also both running in their first marathons, although former serviceman Thomas is expecting to make a decent time of less than 3hr30min. They are hoping to raise £10,000 for TCAF.
World Horse Welfare’s deputy chief executive Tony Tyler and international programme officer Alana Chapman will represent their charity (pictured).
This will be Tony’s 5th “and final” London marathon, while it is Alana’s first attempt.
“Alana made the mistake of telling me she was keen to do one too,” said Tony. “We’ve set a target of £2,000 between us, and also have 5 runners through World Horse Welfare places as well as others in the ballot fund-raising for the charity.”
The Animal Health Trust is also represented, with 3 runners for the charity. 2 ladies — Julia Baldwin and Helen Cain — have been putting on Parelli lectures around East Anglia as part of their fund-raising efforts. They have so far totted up more than £7,000.
And 8 top names from racing are raising money for Racing Welfare, including Classic-winning trainers Andrew Balding and Richard Hannon.
Qatar Racing’s Sheikh Fahad Al Thani has set up the team, and will run himself, joined by his racing and bloodstock manager David Redvers, who is also master of the Ledbury. Qatar Racing trainers Robert Cowell, Charlie Hills, David Simmock and Olly Stevens complete the team.
“The idea to field a team in the marathon raising money for Racing Welfare was entirely Sheikh Fahad’s,” said Mr Redvers. “Although I have to admit I was not 100% convinced at the outset that he was serious about running himself.”
And equestrian figure of a different kind will be lining up at the start — a fibreglass horse. “Colin the horse” will be carried the 26.2 miles by 4 runners on behalf of the Chichester Poppy Appeal.
The horse has already raised nearly £40,000 for numerous charities since 2006.
The quartet expects to take 7hrs to complete the race.