Brutal, but brilliant!
That was how one Fylde coast runner described his participation in this year’s London Marathon.
Temperatures for Sunday’s race were the highest ever, meaning it was an even bigger challenge for the thousands taking part.
But personal desire and fundraising for causes close to their heart drove them on to cross the finishing line.
Mark Neath, 30, from Poulton, was inspired by his twin sister Rosie who died last October, aged 29, from complications relating to cystic fibrosis.
He completed the gruelling 26.2 mile course in five hours 49 minutes and has raised almost £2,500 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Mark, an occupational therapist at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said; “It was the hottest marathon on record so conditions were very difficult.
“But when I was struggling I just thought about Rosie. My sister didn’t give up on anything she was doing, so that gave me the motivation to keep on going.
“It was a fantastic experience and the crowds were amazing. The spirit of London is something I’ll never forget. I think the sense of achievement in crossing the line outweighed the tiredness at the end. Rosie would have been over the moon that I was raising money for cystic fibrosis.”
Rosie was an active campaigner for organ donation and underwent a double lung transplant in 2015.
However, her condition deteriorated and the former Collegiate High School student was told she would require a second transplant which sadly did not come soon enough.
Dad-of-two Lee Good, from St Annes, ran to raise money for VICTA which supports children and young people who are blind or partially sighted, and their families.
He said: “It’s a charity close to my heart because I’ve been partially sighted since birth. The day itself was brutal but brilliant.
“The atmosphere was nothing like I have ever experienced before.
“The runners all set off in separate groups, and we were ushered into our pens about 9.40am.
“I was in the last group, so by the time we crossed the starting line it was about 10.48am.
“But from mile one to mile 26, the crowd support was unbelievable. The heat was a lot to contend with especially after the cold months of winter training .
“My time of five hours, 44 minutes was a little slower than I was aiming for but in the end it was all about finishing.
“I will definitely do it again and am already looking to apply for next year.”
Lee, an advertising executive for The Gazette, has so far raised just over £2,800 for his charity.
Meanwhile for husband and wife Peter, 50, and Louise Mowbray, 45, running the m arathon to raise money for disability charity Sense was a truly joint achievement.
Between them they lost 10 stone in training and they crossed the finishing line together in six hours and 53 minutes, raising £1,580.
Peter who works at BVH as an operating department practitioner, said: “It was amazing to cross the finishing line and hold the finish medal in our hands.
“All the hard work we’ve put into training to get into shape was worth it, because we ran for a wonderful cause.
“To have raised money for Sense to help them support people with complex communication needs, is incredibly satisfying.”
Nicola Clark, of Garstang, raised more than £2,000 for The Matthew Hesmondhalgh Memorial Fund.
The 42-year-old said: “Nothing could prepare me for the heat. It was 24 degrees and so horrendous. The heat took everything out of me.
“I finished it but I didn’t think I would be able to do it because of the temperature. I was very thankful for that finish line. I completed it in three hours, 53 minutes.
“It was a very emotional day. I spoke to so many people who have inspirational stories. I would never have met these people otherwise.”
Laura Goodbourn, 31, of Freckleton, raised more than £3,000 for World Cancer Research Fund, in memory of her dad, Bob Mayes.
She said: “Goals went out of the window due to the heat and I decided by 10k to forget trying to go for under five hours and to just enjoy it and soak it all up.
“I finished in five hours 26 minutes, and I’ve raised more than £3,000 with more donations coming in.
“I am absolutely over the moon.”