Sufolk: Big-hearted army set to pound the streets for London Marathon

An army of fundraising enthusiasts from the county are today preparing to pound the streets of London for charity.

Inspirational teen Lara Pepper will join dozens of Suffolk residents as she descends on the capital to take part in tomorrow’s London Marathon.

The teen is set to go the extra mile for a charity very close to her heart after overcoming the odds.

When she was just 17, she was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (MG) – an auto-immune disease which causes severe muscle weakness and left her physically unable to laugh or smile.

But now, Lara, 19, of Holbrook, will step up to a new challenge in the hope of raising awareness of the condition and money for Mysthenia Gravis Association.

Having completed her final training session, she said: “I’m really nervous but very excited about it too – the main thing is that I have raised more than �1,300 and I couldn’t be happier with that.

“I’m hoping to complete it within four and a half hours, and being one of only five people running for the MG Association, I’m so glad to have the opportunity.”

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Anna Smith, 37, a nurse in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, will also be representing Ipswich.

She will be running alongside her colleague Sarah Cole as they attempt to raise �4,000 to buy a vapotherm device that uses non-invasive oxygen therapy to help ill and premature babies breathe.

The race will see the usual mix of elite runners, celebrities and enthusiastic amateurs, dressed in an array of costumes, run the 26.2mile challenge.

Mike Dunn, 38, also of Ipswich, is preparing to let his running shoes do the talking as he raises vital cash for the RSPCA’s Suffolk East and Ipswich Branch. The father-of-two aims to raise �1,500.

The marathon task will be a first for mum-of-four Marika Wall who will put her best foot forward to help improve the lives of farmers in eastern Africa.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance are set to receive a funding boost as Nichola Whymark joins the thousands of Suffolk runners taking part.

Ipswich-based teachers, Gemma Keys and Pippa Cresdee, are also set to take part in the charitable festivities, having already raised a combined total of more than �2,000.

Elmsett-resident Will Dykes will be raising money for Ipswich Hospital’s neo-natal unit which helped his four-year-old daughter Arabella when she was born.

To support Lara Pepper’s cause visit www.justgiving.com/Lara-Pepper

n Have you got an inspirational story to tell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail evening starletters@eveningstar.co.uk

n Are you talking part in the London Marathon tomorrow? Send us your pictures, e-mail suffolkpicturedesk@archant.co.uk