Who to cheer on in the London Marathon this Sunday

Andy Walker is running for Birmingham Children's Hospital
Andy Walker is running for Birmingham Children's Hospital

A Rugby man is taking part in Sunday’s London Marathon to raise funds for the hospital that saved his brother’s life.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital is a cause close to Andy Walker’s heart.

It cared for his younger brother, Mark, now 31 but who nearly died as a result of a brain tumour in 1996.

Mark said: “I am immensely proud of Andy for running the marathon as well as all the other physically demanding ordeals that he has put himself through in the name of charity, often to the detriment of his own physical well-being.

“I am astounded by his constant desire to do something amazing to benefit others.”

The runner is part of the Team Awesome group, who are aiming to raise as much money as possible for the hospital.

Together, the members from Rugby are running marathons, mountain races (while carrying 35lb packs), racing rafts, busking in town centres and playing gigs.

Andy said: “I wanted to do something to say thanks to the hospital that saved my brother’s life.

“It’s an excellent cause and an incredible facility and it’s fair to say I hate running!”

To donate, visit //uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team_awesome.

Another marathon runner is John Loydall, 38, who is raising money for Arthritis Research and has a £2,000 target.

“Having suffered from arthritis for several years now I thought it would be the obvious choice of charity to support,” he said.

“It started when I was 33 and within a year it was quite severe - all over pain and difficulty standing and picking things up.”

He was offered the place by the charity at the last minute. To help his cause visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnLoydall

A fundraiser who knows first hand what it’s like to be cold, wet and hungry is taking part in her first London Marathon to help homeless people.

Alison Chippington is running in aid of Rugby homelessness charity Hope 4 on Sunday.

She said: “This time last year I couldn’t run for ten minutes, but with the support of my family and the Rugby Ladies’ Running Club I am now days away from running a marathon.

“During the past six months I have spent many hours pounding the streets of Rugby, getting cold, wet and hungry for my own ‘pleasure’. However, I’ve always been able to go home to get warm, dry and fed. There are many people in Rugby who do not have access to these basic things.”

Hope 4 works with and supports local agencies and charities that help homeless people or people in danger of becoming so.

It runs a day centre to provide advice, washing and laundry facilities, and a winter shelter to provide beds and breakfasts for rough-sleepers during the winter months.

Alison added: “I help in the winter shelter and have met nearly 100 people benefiting from the support of Hope 4 over the past three years.

“I had expectations of the type of person who would be at the shelter but I was wrong.”

Alison works as a civil engineer for Morgan Sindall and will be cheered on by her husband Max and children, Niamh and Evan.

Donate to her run by visiting www.justgiving.com/alison-chippington1

Marian Allen and Wendy Jennings were bitten by the running bug five years ago at Rugby’s Ready, Steady, Run club.

And on Sunday the pair take on the ultimate challenge – running 26 miles through the capital in the London Marathon.

Marian, a senior legal officer at Rugby Borough Council, and Wendy, practice manager at Whitehall Medical Practice, joined the club when it began in 2009. The club, based at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre’s athletics track, aims to encourage beginners to take up running.

Marian and Wendy have completed a number of half marathons since joining Ready, Steady, Run, while Wendy has run the Nottingham and Liverpool marathons.

But Marian takes on the full marathon distance for the first time on Sunday, and she plans to enjoy the experience. She said: “We want to milk the atmosphere and make the most of the experience – and we’ll both be looking forward to a glass of bubbly when we cross the finishing line.”

Marian and Wendy’s marathon run supports the Mayor of Rugby’s charity, St Cross Prostate Cancer Care.

To sponsor Marian and Wendy’s marathon attempt, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MarianAllen