Marathon effort for Suffolk runners

VIDEO Thousands of runners are preparing to put their best foot forward and pound the streets of the capital in this year's London Marathon.Those of us watching at home might see a few familiar faces in the crowds when we tune in on Sunday.

Tom Potter

THOUSANDS of runners are preparing to put their best foot forward and pound the streets of the capital in this year's London Marathon.

Those of us watching at home might see a few familiar faces in the crowds when we tune in on Sunday.

Among the competitors from our region are an experienced long distance runner, a pilot and a teacher running for the hospital that saved his daughter's life.

TOM POTTER reports.

Name: Huw Billingham

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Age: 41

Running for: The Prostate Cancer Charity

IPSWICH teacher Huw Billingham came up with a novel way of training for the London Marathon while keeping his pupils in shape.

The year four teacher at St Matthews Primary School decided that the best way to motivate himself ahead of Sunday's big run was to complete a few laps of the school grounds.

Both children and teachers joined him at stages of his four mile run, the last before he joins thousands of other fundraisers in the capital.

Mr Billingham, from Needham Market, will be running for The Prostate Cancer Charity and hopes to raise a total of £2,000.

He is already well on the way to reaching his target thanks to everyone who has sponsored him.

He said: “A guy I play football with had prostate cancer and the team have been doing the Great North Run in recent years to raise money. This will be my first marathon and I'm getting more and more nervous about it as it gets closer.”

Mr Billingham has been running two or three runs a week to prepare and plays football regularly.

Encouraging the school to join in with his final training added another £300 to Mr Billingham's charity fund as pupils donated money and got to wear sports kit for the day.

Name: David Coley

Age: 58

Running for: Oasis Trust

This will be Mr Coley's third London Marathon. He ran his first at the age of 50, after being told he wouldn't run again due to arthritis.

He has completed two ten mile runs in Hadleigh and Beccles and a 20 mile run in Bury to prepare for Sunday.

So far Mr Coley has raised £200 for the Oasis Trust, which supports the rehabilitation of young men and women involved in the sex trafficking trade around the world.

He aims to better the £860 he raised last year and has recently returned from India where he got a chance to see the work carried out by the charity.

Mr Coley runs for the Felixstowe, JAFFA and Ipswich Triathlon running clubs.

Name: Darren Ockelton

Age: 20

Running for: NSPCC

Mr Ockelton is a Special Constable from Rushmere. He hopes to raise almost £2,000 by running his first marathon.

He ran from his home to Martlesham and back twice a week to prepare.

His first competitive race was in 2006 at Chantry Park where he ran 2km for children with leukaemia.

He said: “I feel physically and mentally prepared but the fund-raising is the difficult part. Some children don't get the opportunities and luck that I had as a child and I think something should be done for them. I'd love to get round in less than four hours but I'm going to have fun and take in some of the sights.”

Name: Dave Kay

Age: 38

Running for: St John Ambulance Suffolk

Mr Kay, from Woodbridge, is a former RAF Search and Rescue pilot at Wattisham, now working as a commercial pilot with British Airways.

He hopes that by running the marathon, he can support a charity which brings benefit to the community and fund more defibrillators and first-aid accessories.

In that role he worked alongside emergency services and developed a very close understanding of the need for transportable heart-start equipment.

He said: “St John Ambulance is such a deserving organisation and is responsible for training thousands of people in potentially lifesaving skills.

It relies on charitable donations and I'm keen to do what I can to help it attain the defibrillators and other equipment which it needs to serve the Suffolk community on as wide a basis as possible.”

To sponsor Mr Kay, call 01473 241500.

Name: Mark Emmanuel

Age: 38

Running for: Evelina Children's Hospital Appeal.

Running for his chosen charity has an extra special meaning for Mr Emmanuel

His 22 month-old daughter, Ellen, was at Evelina Children's Hospital for two weeks to receive heart surger.

Four months ago, she was given the all clear but her dad wants to repay the hospital by raising some money.

Mr Emmanuel, of Castle Hill, has already collected nearly £2,000 but still has a way to go before he reaches his £3,000 target.

The Evelina Children's Hospital, at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, provides everything from routine care to life saving treatment for over 100,000 children every year and includes intensive care, neurology, and specialist heart and kidney units.

Mr Emmanuel, a teacher at Westbourne High, has already run 24 miles to prepare. It will be his last long distance run before taking on the marathon.

Name: Lawrence Scarlet

Age: 48

Running for: Ipswich JAFFA athletics club

Mr Scarlet, of Clive Avenue, Ipswich, is a seasoned marathon runner, taking part in his first London Marathon in 1983.

His last was in 1991 when he recorded an impressive time of 2hrs 58m, a personal best.

He has been on a 16 week training schedule to prepare, running 23 miles at the end of March but is now winding down before the big one.

He said: “I tend to go out into the sticks with my satellite navigation watch and see where I end up. Hopefully it's back where I started.”

Mr Scarlet burns 110 calories for every mile he runs and recommends a balanced diet to prepare for the run, with lots of fluids and carbohydrates.

Fastfacts: The Flora London Marathon

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The oldest man taking part on Sunday is Buster Martin, born 1st September 1906, making him 101 years old. The oldest female runner is Iva Barr, aged 80.

The youngest two runners, Jonathan Smith and Siobhan Besford, both turn 18 on race day itself. There are 167 people taking part who will also be celebrating their birthday on race day.

Over 700,000 bottles of Vittel water are distributed to runners across 23 water stations, situated at each mile marker after the third mile.

165,000 Lucozade Sport pouches are distributed throughout the start and at each 5-mile point.

There are 1,250 portable toilets throughout the race course.

There are 59 treatment centres, 50 ambulances and 1,400 St Johns Ambulance staff to look after injured runners. The staff are equipped with 100 first aid kits, 500 stretchers and over 2000 plasters.

100lb's of petroleum jelly and 200 bottles of baby oil will also be available to runners.

There are 3,050 marshalls on the course.

There are 405 accountants, 580 housewives, 1,562 students and 662 nurses taking part among many other occupations.

40,000 Pink Lady apples will be given to runners in their finisher bags.