ROUND UP: Which Weston runners are taking on the London Marathon this weekend?
PUBLISHED: 09:00 20 April 2018
Thousands of people will take on the gruelling London Marathon this weekend and some runners from Weston will race for charities close to their hearts. Here are just a few of those who will take on the challenge on Sunday:
ALEX BULLOCK: STROKE ASSOCIATION
A Weston man will face the ‘daunting’ task of running around the capital in support of two family members.
Alex Bullock, aged 32, will take on the London Marathon this weekend for the Stroke Association.
He said: “I chose this charity as a close family relation suffered a severe stroke about two years ago and this has had a major impact on his ability to work again but also on his family.
“My Granddad suffered a less severe stoke about five years ago and he has made a very good recovery so I want to put something back to this great cause.”
Alex said he never considered himself a runner but has been pounding the pavements of North Somerset since signing up in October and has said he would ‘drag himself’ around the course to ensure people did not donate in vain.
To donate to Alex and the Stroke Association, click here.
JAMES PINK: SPINAL RESEARCH
A Weston College employee is raising money for a charity which offers ‘amazing support’ to people with spinal injuries.
James Pink, aged 24, secured a space on the Spinal Research London Marathon team.
The Weston man praised the ‘amazing work’ it has offered people who have had suffered possibly life changing injuries as well as the support it has given to friends and family of those affected.
James said: “The charity has been brilliant at supporting me since I was offered a place by them in July last year.
“Since I was offered my place, I have done numerous fundraising events to help reach my £1,800 target.”
He held a fundraising night at Weston Cricket Club as well as coffee mornings and cake sales.
To support James, click here.
MICHAEL FROST: MISCARRIAGE ASSOCIATION
A Burnham-on-Sea man has decided to run for a charity close to his heart at this weekend’s London Marathon.
Michael Frost, aged 35, and his wife had suffered three miscarriages, one of which was twins.
The couple turned to Miscarriage Association for support and guidance during the difficult time.
He said: “I wanted to raise the profile of the charity and create a dialogue especially among men as it is not spoken about.
“It can be difficult for men to deal with all the issues and emotions arising from a miscarriage.”
Michael said he felt ‘nervous excitement’ to run ‘the biggest, most famous marathon there is’.
He has already completed a number of half marathons but hopes, after losing two stone, to finish the 26.2-mile course in four or four-and-a-half hours.
To donate, click here.
FRASER BALAAM: BRITISH LUNG ASSOCIATION
A young Weston man hopes to do his father proud as he gets ready to tackle the London Marathon this weekend.
Fraser Balaam, aged 29, will run the 26.2-mile race in loving memory of his father Keith who died from lung disease in 2001, when he was 47 years old.
Keith was well-known in the town as the owner of an electrical shop in Orchard Street in the 1980s and Fraser grew up in the area.
In 2016, Fraser published a book about his dad’s stories, which took him to Russia and the USA.
To follow up this project, Fraser is now raising money for the British Lung Foundation to help fund research into the condition which cut Keith’s life short.
Fraser said: “The goal is to raise enough money to give someone else a better chance than my dad had all those years ago.”
To donate, visit his fundraising page.
JULIET VENN: WESTON HOSPICECARE
A 46-year-old woman gears up to run the London Marathon for her father.
Juliet Venn chose to support one of Weston’s most popular charities, Weston Hospicecare, after the ‘amazing support’ her dad and family had.
She said: “Unfortunately my dad passed away in October last year after many years of being unwell.
“Dad really enjoyed his time in the day hospice, making things, watching films and being fussed over by the nurses.
“He had several admissions to the inpatient unit at the hospice and the love, care and attention given by the nurses, doctors and staff was simply outstanding.”
Juliet has crammed as much training in as possible in preparation for the main event this weekend.
She said: “For me it is so important to complete the marathon, not what time I do it in.”
To donate, click here.
BETH TURPIN: DIABETES UK
A Yatton woman living with diabetes has decided to raise money for the charity which is ‘very close to home’.
Beth Turpin, aged 23, was diagnosed with type one diabetes eight years ago but said it has ‘never let it stop her’.
She said: “Diabetes causes me struggles day in and day out with the amount of injections and finger pricks I do, plus with how low it makes my immune system.
“I want to not only raise money but raise awareness around the stigma about diabetes and how it is not to do with being fat, overweight and unfit.
“Not only do I have diabetes but so does my sister – so my family are very affected by this horrible illness.”
Beth has completed three half-marathons and hopes taking part in the London Marathon will ‘push her’.
The young woman said she cannot wait to cross the finish line with the support around the course from her family and friends.
To show your support for Diabetes UK and Beth, click here.
KELLI COXHEAD: ASTHMA UK
A Cheddar woman will pay her respects to two friends who died from asthma.
Kelli Coxhead, aged 42, will be racing for Asthma UK after the deaths of her friend Abi Clay, who died in 1996 aged 20, and her close friend’s son Jacques who died in 2006 when he was just 12 years old.
She said: “It is an illness which affects a lot of people but is not always recognised as life threatening.
“Please donate generously to help people who find themselves in a similar situation and save someone’s life.”
With the ‘vital’ help of a personal trainer, Kelli has tackled snow, rain and strong winds in her training, which she started on Boxing Day last year.
This will be Kelli’s first marathon, and she has already raised more than £2,000 for her chosen charity.
To donate, click here.
WAYNE ENTWISTLE: ALZEIMER’S SOCIETY
A Weston Athletic Club runner has been chosen to join the Alzheimer’s Society London Marathon team for his dad.
Wayne Entwistle, aged 48, hopes to raise hundreds of pounds for the charity which has offered so much support to him over the years.
Wayne, who is from Weston, said: “This is my chosen charity as my dad has been suffering from Alzheimer’s.
“It is also my company’s, Shearing Leisure Group, charity partner for this year.
“I am feeling a bit nervous about the marathon, I just want to finish without injury.”
The Grand Atlantic Hotel general manager will take on the challenge for his father and hopes to raise awareness about the disease.
The Alzheimer’s Society offers care and is researching a cure for people who live with dementia.
To sponsor Wayne, click here.
CLAIRE NEWMAN: JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION
A loving mum will run the London Marathon for her 16-year-old son.
Claire Newman, aged 46, will take on the challenge of the 26.2-mile course in a bid to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Ethan was diagnosed with type one diabetes on New Year’s Eve in 2015 when he was 14 years old.
Claire said: “This has not been caused by eating too many sweets or being unhealthy, quite the contrary in Ethan’s case.
“It is just pure bad luck and this condition is life changing. Ethan wears a pump which injects insulin into his body 24 hours a day. Without insulin, he will die.
“These youngsters have enough to go through day-to-day without getting negative criticism from people.”
Claire, who works at Weston College, started running over a year ago to keep fit and healthy and has yet to take part in a marathon.
To donate, click here.
DEBBIE ATKINS AND SARAH WHEATLEY: ROYAL BRITISH LEGION
An accounting duo have already raised more than £7,000 for serving and former military personnel.
Debbie Atkins, aged 45, and Sarah Wheatley, aged 38, have been heavily involved in supporting the Royal British Legion.
Debbie’s husband and brother served in the Royal Marines and Royal Navy respectively.
She said: “We really feel passionate about the work the British Legion do and feel we have put our hearts into the fundraising.”
The pair have helped collect and sell poppies, support Armed Forces Day and offer low fee accountancy to Armed Forces personnel.
They have enlisted the help of Debbie’s Newfoundland dog to attract donators.
TIM DAVIDSON: HUNTINGTON’S DISEASE ASSOCIATION
A Winscombe man will be running for a charity which has helped his family ‘immensely’.
Tim Davidson, aged 47, is running for his cousins, Sally and James Young, who have Huntington’s disease.
Tim said: “I will be running for the Huntington’s Disease Association and hope to raise as much money as I physically can.
“To help with this, I held a fundraiser in Kewstoke in March which raised more than £1,000, taking my total to almost £2,500.
“The support services they offer to families like mine living with relatives who are going through such turmoil has helped immensely, and they deserve every penny they get.”
To show your support for the Huntington’s Disease Association and Tim, click here.
GEMMA WATKINS: BBC CHILDREN IN NEED
A 35-year-old teacher hopes to raise £3,000 for BBC Children In Need by taking part in the London Marathon.
Gemma Watkins is showing her support from the ‘absolutely wonderful’ work the charity has done to support thousands of projects and children across the UK.
It has been able to support 490,000 children through its donations and Gemma wants to continue its good work through her marathon run.
She said: “I am feeling nervous about the race as endurance training is proving to be tough.”
Gemma has worked around her busy teaching schedule to increase her running distance as well as strength and conditioning sessions in the gym with some personal trainers.
She has recorded and edited her gym work into a training video for her supporters to watch.
To donate, visit her JustGiving page.
KATE ROSSITER: CHILD BEREAVEMENT UK
A Weston woman wants to help people like her who grow up without a parent through her London Marathon chosen charity.
Kate Rossiter, aged 47, lost her dad when she was 10 years old after he suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 36.
She said: “Things were very different then, my dad was a serviceman so we had to leave our home and our school and friends. Within a year I was at boarding school.
“There was no counselling in those days so the easiest way to deal with it was to never talk about him.
“I understand the truly devastating impact losing a parent can have on a child. I would like to help families in a similar situation.”
Kate has already exceeded her £2,500 target and has now raised £3,645.
She says is ‘very excited’ for the marathon on Sunday.
To donate, visit Kate’s fundraising page.
ROBERT OSMENT: ACTION FOR ME
An Uphill man living with a neurological condition will take on the London Marathon on Sunday.
When Robert Osment was 13, he fell seriously ill with a ‘mysterious illness’ which ‘completely changed his life’.
He said: “I suffered from chronic fatigue and constant pain in my joints, making it impossible to lead a normal life.
“I endured regular panic attacks, severe headaches and nausea with my weight plummeting due to lack of appetite or enjoyment of food.
“I became housebound, unable to go to school or have normal social interactions and my mental health suffered with extreme low mood.”
Now 39-years-old, Robert is living with his wife Karen and has now made a full recovery.
Robert is hoping to complete the 26.2-mile course for Action For ME, a UK charity which supported his family when Robert was struggling to get a diagnosis.
To donate, click here.