Virgin London Marathon: The runners stories
Thousands of runners will grace the streets for the London Marathon this Sunday, 23 April. The challenging 26.2 mile route goes through the heart of London finishing in Westminster, near Buckingham Palace.
If you’re planning to join our cheer squad on the day, or spectate in private, prepare to feel all types of emotions reading the stories of runners, as they dash passed.
Each individual taking part in the London Marathon has their own story to tell. Some of our team shares why they’re taking part this year…
Running for GraceYoung Epilepsy fundraiser, Richie Lannon, shares why running the London Marathon 2017 is nothing compared to what his daughter has to go through everyday with her condition.
My name is Richie Lannon. I am a physiotherapist and father to my wonderful two-year-old daughter Grace. My wife and I really didn’t realise that one little person could bring so much joy to our lives.
November 2014 set in motion a series of events that would ultimately change our lives. Grace started to develop seizures; mild absences at first, becoming more severe and frequent. Various hospital admissions followed, with test upon test conducted to find a cause of these episodes. Multiple MRIs, blood tests, spinal taps. All this and more to a two-month-old just didn’t seem right.
On the seizures went with no working diagnosis obtained. In January 2015, the presentation of the seizures changed. Absences remained with the addition of sudden, rapid, tonic contractions of the trunk and limbs. We were told this was not good news. In March 2015, Grace was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms (West Syndrome).
What is West Syndrome? We certainly had never heard of it prior to Grace’s arrival. The internet/medical literature will tell you that it’s a severe form of epilepsy expressing a damaged brain, with sufferers commonly having varying degrees of developmental delay. As a parent it’s a constant fear, a helplessness that cannot be described, sleepless nights and ultimately a change in thinking.
But, Grace, oh Grace. She has dealt with everything that has been put in front of her. Everything - and she has the most beautiful smile. Her grin will light a room. Every day she undertakes her own marathon and, every day, she breaks new boundaries that initially were not possible.
So now I undertake a marathon for Grace and all of the other children who live with similar conditions. Running 26.2 miles is nothing compared to what Gracie has been through and pales in significance to future hurdles ahead, but it’s something. If I can raise some awareness of the condition and some cash for a good cause it has to be worth doing!
Running for my cousin whom needs 24-hour careCaitlin McGreevy, a student studying Medicine at University College London, shares the importance of raising awareness and funds for Young Epilepsy that provides 24-hour care to her cousin.
I’m running the London Marathon for Young Epilepsy because my cousin has a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. She needs 24/7 care and Young Epilepsy have the wonderful people who provide that for her!
As a medical student, I also have an interest in the work Young Epilepsy do in healthcare and research. I think it’s really important that Young Epilepsy is a charity addressing so many different aspects of epilepsy care. I’m very proud to be supporting this incredible charity!
Running for his family’s little onesYoung Epilepsy fundraiser, Andy Gray, shares why he is taking part in his second London Marathon and what he’s looking forward to enjoying after the race.
I am raising money for Young Epilepsy because my nephew has experienced infantile seizures from a very young age as well as my cousin’s little girl, who lives with epilepsy.
Fundraising has been great so far and I'm blown away at people’s generosity, it's really amazing. With the help from close family and friends, we ran a raffle at various workplaces and a race night at a local rugby club which combined to make £2,000 for the charity and helped me cruise past the £3,000 fundraising target.
I've ran one marathon before in 2011 (London Marathon) and finished in 4 hours 11 minutes, so I am looking to beat that by a fairly large margin, if I can. At the very least, I am hoping to break the 4-hour mark. I know anything can happen on the day, so I am not putting too much pressure on myself and will just soak in the experience, enjoy the day and make sure I am well enough to enjoy a beer afterwards, this time. Last time I had to go straight home to bed!