Samaritans runners steam ahead in London's hottest marathon on record
Runners in this year’s London Marathon completed the challenge despite the searing heat, hitting their fundraising targets, and raising more than £115,000 with donations still coming in for Samaritans.
Seventy Samaritans runners joined 40,000 competitors in the hottest London Marathon to date. Enduring temperatures of up to 24C, the runners battled through sweat, blistered feet and the dreaded ‘wall’ to storm to the finish line at the Mall.
The first runner to make it home for Samaritans was Simon West from Bristol, in 3 hours 2 minutes. “It’s a lovely race and I really enjoyed it, even though I was melting.”
Simon was spurred on to run for Samaritans after he witnessed first-hand the camaraderie of two runners in 2017, when one helped the other over the finish line. He said: “I was running on the other side of the road when Matthew Rees went to David Wyeth. I was waving to everyone and felt happy that I was set for a good race. But I didn’t realise that someone over the side of the road needed help.
“I felt a bit ashamed when I finished, so two minutes after I’d crossed that line, I knew I wanted to raise money for Samaritans this year and raise money to support people who are in need of help.”
Vinny Gould from Rugby ended an epic triple marathon challenge in three hours 43 minutes. Taking on his third marathon in a fortnight, Vinny was still in shock and looking forward to a well needed shower. “It was tough today, but I’m ready for a wash and a drink.” Vinny said. “I should have rested more between marathons, but I did spin and body pump classes, which wasn’t the best move. I’m so pleased I’ve got through it!”
Jogging to success was veteran fundraiser Dave ‘the running phone’ Lock, from Woodford Green in Essex, who completed his 20th London Marathon in costume for Samaritans, and his fiftieth marathon overall. The sweltering conditions saw Dave swapping the green lycra onesie he usually wears under his giant green telephone for shorts and a vest, crossing the line in six hours 52 minutes.
Dave said: “I’m delighted and humbled by the wonderful experience of the crowd and my fellow runners – so many people doing so much for good causes. At 14 miles, a man in the crowd grabbed my hand, and said, ‘You saved my life, I phoned Samaritans and it stopped me’. There were tears - mine and his - we hugged and on I went. That was really special.
“The heat was an issue but I slowed down, drank plenty, and walked when I needed to. There was no way me and my phone weren’t going to make it over the line.”
Dave admits that completing twenty London Marathons and fifty marathons overall hasn’t really sunk in.
“I’m thinking about my twenty-first to be honest! All I do is run marathons and my body is ok and I can do it, but Samaritans volunteers run a marathon every shift and more. So, I’ll always run for Samaritans for as long as you’ll have me. See you next year.”
Emily Brown, from Oxford, hung out with some celebrities during the race. She said: “I totally missed my family during the race but that was ok as I got to run with George Lamb for a bit before he got pulled off for an interview. I’m tired, but really happy with my time of 4 hours and 37 minutes.”
Lucy Proud from Edinburgh wasn’t looking forward to the journey home. “I’ve got to sit down for five hours, what if I can’t get up!”. After almost giving up at one point, Lucy was elated to get to the finish line. She said: “Sweat was dripping down my face before I’d even started, so by mile 15, it was hot, hot, hot. After coming out of the tunnel into Embankment, I knew I could actually do it and I did.”
Samaritans’ runners were given a boost by hordes of supporters at cheer points along the way. After finishing the gruelling 26.2 mile race, runners were met at a special reception by Samaritans volunteers and welcomed on stage at the Playhouse Theatre to rapturous applause from friends and family, before heading for a relaxing massage, showers, refreshments and goodie bags.
Emma Sutehall, Events Fundraising Manager at Samaritans, said: “Massive congratulations to all our runners - what an epic achievement! A huge thank you to everyone who donated to our runners’ marathon challenge. We rely on donations from the public to keep Samaritans’ service running around the clock, so these vital funds can ensure we are there to support anyone who is feeling overwhelmed.”
Samaritans has hundreds of runners taking part in challenges across the UK this year, visit our events page to find out more.
To donate to Simon West visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/simon270
To donate to Vinny Gould visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/vinnygould
To donate to Dave visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-lock-20
To donate to Emily Brown visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EmilyBrown33
To donate to Lucy Proud: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lucy-proud1
For more information or photos, please contact Samaritans on 020 8394 8300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Anyone can contact Samaritans any time for free from any phone on 116 123. This number is free to call and will not show up on your phone bill. Or email email@example.com or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your local branch where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.
- Samaritans is a charity and it’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 trained volunteers that mean we are always there for anyone struggling to cope. Your money or your time could save a life. Find out how you can support us: http://www.samaritans.org/support-us