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Bishop’s Stortford Running Club members preparing to take on 2024 London Marathon





More than 20 members of Bishop’s Stortford Running Club are heading to the capital to take on the TCS London Marathon on Sunday (April 21).

Among those who secured a charity place is 26.2-mile debutant Paul Walker, running for Leukaemia Care in memory of his sister Louise who passed away following a battle with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2019.

Following her diagnosis in 2015, she underwent chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant, using stem cells that Paul donated. This was successful and for a couple of years she was in remission and cancer-free. In 2018, her leukaemia returned more aggressively and she died aged 49.

John Ivens is running the London Marathon for the second time, 14 years after his first effort, and is fundraising for Helen Rollason Cancer Charity.

Sarah Smith completed the club’s 10 Weeks to 10k course last year and was motivated to run in aid of Sarcoma UK in memory of her Auntie Pat. Sarcoma, which develops in the bone and soft tissue, is difficult to diagnose and one of the hardest cancers to treat.

Multiple marathon runner Eleanor Rodgers is taking on her 76th marathon - her 77th comes the following week - to raise money for Dementia UK.

Some of the BSRC members who will be running the London Marathon – back from left, Adam Beaumont, Paul Walker, Rob Thorpe, Phoenyx Harritt, Kev Gillespie, John Kennedy, front from left, Eleanor Rodgers, Sophie Barc, Mike Grant, Selina Walkley and Andrea Thorpe
Some of the BSRC members who will be running the London Marathon – back from left, Adam Beaumont, Paul Walker, Rob Thorpe, Phoenyx Harritt, Kev Gillespie, John Kennedy, front from left, Eleanor Rodgers, Sophie Barc, Mike Grant, Selina Walkley and Andrea Thorpe

The experienced John Kennedy is running the distance for the 49th time having won a place with Buxton Water. He is taking the opportunity to raise money for mental health charity MIND UK.

Mike Grant had his name pulled out of the hat in the BSRC ballot and will be running his fourth London Marathon and 15th marathon overall, 42 years after his first marathon as a teenager.

Despite getting lucky in the public ballot out of 658,000 applications, some members have opted to raise money for a cause too.

Kevin Gillespie, who is making his London debut having previously run marathons in Brighton and Manchester, is fundraising for the Addie Brady Foundation which was set up in memory of the Herts and Essex High School student who died from a rare brain tumour aged just 16.

Selina Walkley is supporting armed forces charity The Not Forgotten.

Some of the club’s speedier runners have qualified for a good for age place by completing a previous marathon in a target time specific to their age category. They are Rob Thorpe, who is running for Samaritans, Sophie Barc, Laura Hollis and Andrea Thorpe, who is fundraising for the Lupus Trust in honour of her friend Mel who has the auto-immune disease.

Phoenyx Harritt is taking on their third consecutive London Marathon having earned a place as a pacer. They are tasked with carrying the sub-6hr 45min flag in the target time and will be supporting lots of marathon first-timers.

Will Morton will also be doing his bit for charity by volunteering at the Alzheimer’s Research UK cheer station at mile 18, inspired by his mum, Josephine, who was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, a rare type of dementia, in 2011.



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