North Somerset runners get ready for London Marathon

Kath Whiting and Philippa Trask.

Kath Whiting and Philippa Trask. - Credit: Philippa Trask

Runners from across North Somerset are ready to take part in the London Marathon.

For the second year in a row, the race has been moved from its traditional April date.

This year, the official London Marathon is scheduled for Sunday.

The virtual marathon will take place on the same day.

There are plenty of runners from North Somerset taking part in the gruelling race this weekend.

Kath Whiting, Tom Bullimore and Philippa Trask.

Kath Whiting, Tom Bullimore and Philippa Trask. - Credit: Philippa Trask

Philippa Trask, from Clevedon, and her friend Kath Whiting, of Portishead, are both running the Virtual London Marathon starting at 8.30am on Sunday for Bowel Cancer UK. 

They will run around Clevedon, starting at the bottom of Poets Walk at the Marshalls Field end, then going via Clevedon Pier, All Saints Lane, Lower Strode Road then heading to the sea wall then back to Marshalls Field.

Kath Whiting and Philippa Trask's marathon route around Clevedon.

Kath Whiting and Philippa Trask's marathon route around Clevedon. - Credit: Philippa Trusk

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Philippa said: "It's just more than eight miles so three laps should give us the 26.2 miles we need.

"It is going to be a huge challenge for the both of us. Personal trainer Tom Bullimore from Bullfitness has helped us with the route.

"As it's just the two of us running we'd really love anyone to give us a wave or cheer on the way round, or even join us for a mile or two to keep us going."

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Ben Mager will be running for the charity SHINE.

Ben Mager will be running for the charity SHINE. - Credit: Nicky Mager

Ben Mager was born eight weeks premature and it was discovered he had suffered a brain haemorrhage. As a result of the bleed Ben has hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

Mum, Nicky Mager, heard Chris Evans talking on the radio about his book 119 Days To Go, a book for complete marathon beginners, so she brought Ben a copy and they both signed up to run the Virtual London Marathon. Since committing to run it Ben's cousin, Lucy Mager and his aunt, Julie Forte, signed up too, both wanting to support Ben.

Ben, Lucy and Nicky have been getting up at 5am to complete the long runs that form part of the gruelling training. 

Ben, Nicky and Lucy Mager setting out at 5am.

Ben, Nicky and Lucy Mager setting out at 5am. - Credit: Nicky Mager

Nicky said: "Ben puts the 'able' in disabled. He is the most determined young man you'll ever meet.

"Ben first started running in 2018 when he put his mind to running the 10km Christmas Cracker with some friends and family also running to support.

"We'd like to give a huge heartfelt thank you to every single person who has kindly donated to SHINE."

Ben struggled through secondary school being verbally bullied on a daily basis. After leaving school and moving on to further education, Ben found 'incredible' support from the staff at Weston College.

Ben won the college's childcare apprentice of the year and overall apprentice of the year. He was picked to attend Buckingham Palace when the college collected The Queens Award in the same year.

Ben qualified last year by finally gaining his maths GCSE and becoming fully qualified in level three childcare. He was then able to chase his dream job, working with children with disabilities. 

Nicky and Ben Mager with Julie Forte.

Nicky and Ben Mager with Julie Forte. - Credit: Nicky Mager

He works at Baytree School and loves every minute, feeling he is 'able to give something back' and 'is a passion rather than a job'.

Ben choose SHINE as his charity as this is a charity which has supported Ben with invaluable information and guidance about hydrocephalus, since birth.

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Kathy Durston is running for Comfort At Christmas.

Kathy Durston is running for Comfort At Christmas. - Credit: Kathy Durston

Kathy Durston, of Weston, is running for Comfort At Christmas, a charity which gets the homeless and vulnerable off the streets at Christmas to give them food, warmth and friendship.

The charity runs each year at St Paul's Church, in Walliscote Road, but was unable to get set up last year due to Covid.

Kathy has worked for charity for 15 years, serving Christmas breakfast and wants to help people at this special time of the year.

As the marathon was due to take place in April 2020, the monies raised previously have already gone to the charity, but Kathy has a new fundraising page set up and wants to hit her £500 target.

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