Runners and riders gear up to tackle London Marathon for good causes

  • Runners and riders from across the country are preparing to tackle the London Marathon for equine charities and a range of other good causes.

    A world record 414,168 people applied for places in this year’s 26.2-mile challenge, on 28 April, with more than 40,000 expected to take part.

    World Horse Welfare has five runners raising funds in its name.

    Vet Anna Hammond from Bristol University veterinary school, who works at the charity’s Glenda Spooner farm, told H&H it will “mean a lot” to support it.

    “I’ve got to know how the charity works and operates and I think it’s a fabulous organisation – I’ve been very impressed with the way it run things, the ethos and the strict moral values it applies to everything it does. I think World Horse Welfare does a splendid job,” she said.

    Vet Anna Hammond. Credit Basil Hayes

    Phil Newton, who ran for the charity last year, said he is “thirsty for more” after raising £2047 in 2018.

    “I was a few minutes outside my target of a sub four-hour marathon last year and am determined to reach that goal this year. My wife, Vicki, works in the international department of the charity and we have rehomed a World Horse Welfare horse, Rana, who is very much for of the family,” said Phil.

    Lottie Hing and Ruth Ellison are also running for the charity, along with World Horse Welfare design officer Matt Green.

    A team of seven are raising funds for the Donkey Sanctuary.

    Yvonne Moore, a 64-year-old “dedicated fundraiser” from Rochford missed out running for the sanctuary in 2018 and is “really excited” about taking part this year.

    Yvonne Moore

    Andrea Barrett, a “loyal” supporter, was introduced to the sanctuary when she was very young when her grandmother adopted a donkey called Winston.

    Shelley Hall and her partner Ashley Lloyd, Gavin Paye, Tanya Potiyenko and George Paraschou will also be part of the Donkey Sanctuary team.

    Raising funds for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony is secondary school biology teacher and Pony Club coach Jenny Norman, who has been riding for more than 30 years.

    Jenny told H&H: “Last year a pupil in my form at school lost her fight with cancer at the age of 15. She suffered from a form of osteosarcoma, very similar to Hannah Francis. This led to me becoming involved with the charity and I have been raising money ever since by completing runs and sponsored rides.”

    Jenny will also raise funds for the Jess Grant Celebration charity, set up by Jenny’s students’ parents and Queen guitarist Brian May in Jess’s memory to support young people who are ill by funding music lessons.

    Jenny Norman

    Eleanor Martin and Rachel Hatcher are running for international equine charity Brooke.

    Eleanor’s “passion” for equine welfare took her to India in 2017 where she helped develop a retraining of racehorses programme.

    “I witnessed first-hand how different things are in the poorer countries and while these thoroughbreds were not subject to the conditions of those in Egypt or Jordan, the boys caring for them still had to learn about horse welfare, management and training methods,” said Eleanor.

    Eleanor Martin

    The Royal Veterinary College has a team of eight runners raising funds to support the college’s animal hospitals including the equine practice and referral hospital.

    Kyle McCreesh, Oliver Siddons, Sophie Tilyard, Eloise Nice, Paul Berrington, Leanne Smith, Kirsty Bendon and Hannah Lacey will run.

    Georgie Dickinson, who is behind the marketing and sponsorship for Bede events, including Osborne House and Osberton Horse Trials, is raising funds for baby charity Tommy’s.

    Georgie, who has evented to intermediate level, told H&H it’s been tough fitting in training alongside her work commitments.

    “Around the events I’ve been struggling to get the training in before and after work but because I’ve got the goal it’s kept me going. Everyone in the office have been incredibly supportive and really helped me along,” she said.

    Lucy Cocker, a human physiotherapist, is raising money for Life Charity who fund equipment for disabled and terminally ill children.

    Lucy, who events with her ex-racehorse General Samarski, told H&H: “I have brought him on from never jumping, up to BE novice level – he is not the easiest of horses but he has so much talent. I wanted to run the London marathon as a new challenge but I am really missing the start of the eventing season.”

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