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Kent's runners aim for glory among 40,000 entrants in the Virgin Money London Marathon

By KentOnline reporter

Kent's marathon runners are praying for a good time - or even just to finish - as they gear up for one of the biggest fitness challenges around.

The county can boast a good line-up in this year's 26-plus mile challenge, with a variety of runners of all levels taking to the starting line.

Last year's London Marathon

Here are just some of the entrants - all the best to all who are taking part:

Two brothers will be hoping to smash through the pain barrier in aid of a little boy born unable to swallow.

Oscar Colclough was brought into the world by emergency C-section at King’s College Hospital on June 16, weighing just 4lb 10oz. He has a rare condition where he has a gap in his food pipe.

Mum Sarah experienced complications and before she or dad Matt, 30, could hold him, Oscar was taken away and placed in an incubator.

Vanessa Keates pounding the streets

Matt, of McKenzie Court, Maidstone, is joining his brother, Tim, to raise money for the London hospital that looked after Oscar.

Vanessa Keates, 43, of Columbia Avenue, Whitstable, is taking part in the marathon in aid of the charity Action on Pre-eclampsia.

The Avon rep has built up to the event with a long run every week and shorter hill work and has been working out at the gym at Whitstable pool and swimming.

Working on the Underground, Anna Fisk, also of Whitstable, knows a thing or two about a tough shift but that will be nothing as she prepares to run her first London Marathon.

The 33-year-old transport officer of Glebe Way is pounding the pavements across the capital on Sunday to raise money for Pilgrims Hospices.

Supermarket manager Tom Lynds, 38, from the town, is also pounding the pavements to raise funds to combat a disease which affects his family.

Tom, customer services manager at Sainsbury’s Whitstable store, hopes to raise £1,700 for the National Osteoporosis Society.

Kmfm newsreader Joanna Earle will be making the news when she takes part in the marathon.

The keen runner, who works at the station’s Medway City Estate studios, hopes to set a personal best of four hours. She will be competing for the second time and raising money for the Heart of Kent Hospice, in Aylesford.

Mum-of-one Ellan Iaquaniello is using the marathon as a warm-up for an even bigger challenge next month.

The 41-year-old from Aylesford, is one of just 15 runners to take on the Brathay 10 in 10 on May 18, which involves running 10 marathons in 10 days.

She will running for the same cause, The Brathay Trust, this weekend.

Kent MP Tracey Crouch’s assistant is running the London Marathon in aid of the MP’s defibrillator campaign.

Miss Crouch has embarked on a campaign to get the life-saving equipment into the local community and her diary secretary Georgina Nicolettos is going the miles for the cause.

kmfm newsreader Joanne Earle is running the London Marathon

The 24-year-old is hoping to generate £1,500 to buy the lifesaver and donate it to Snodland town hall.

Larkfield fire station crew manager Sam Sellick will try to break a previous record of four hours, 45 minutes, to complete the course while wearing full fire gear weighing 10kg.

It is his bid to raise £2,000 for The Firefighters’ Charity.

The head teacher at Worth Primary School is running the London Marathon on Sunday for a charity close to her heart – Macmillan Cancer Support.

Lynne Moore’s husband Andy, 32, a Year 6 teacher and the assistant head at Bromstone Primary School, Broadstairs, is fighting cancer.

He was diagnosed with non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma in July last year and started his chemotherapy the day after his diagnosis.

A doctors’ receptionist is taking part in her first marathon to support a local children’s play area.

Dawn Waddell, 51, who works at The Surgery, Orgarswick Avenue, Dymchurch, is competing.

She is running to raise money for the Burmarsh Children’s Fund (BCF), which has a play area in the village centre that needs to be maintained at a cost of £1,000 a year and needs improvements.

Long term friends Lynda Aldridge and Roger Constable have been training for the London Marathon together.

Tom Lynds is taking part in today's race

Lynda, 64, of Greatstone is running her first ever marathon for Pilgrims Hospices in memory of her twin sister Susan who was cared for there 15 months ago.

Seventy-one-year-old Roger lives in Littlestone and is raising money for Headway, a charity that looks after people with brain injuries, because they supported his daughter when she was involved in an accident. This will be his third London Marathon but he has not run in once since the 1990s.

It will be Beth Raby's fifth marathon in various places across the world.

Beth, who works at Ashford-based CXK, a charity which helps young people’s job prospects, said the 26.2 mile challenge remains daunting, but she’s getting used to it.

Her chosen charity is WWF UK on account of her passion for animals, African wildlife in particular.

Another runner taking to the capital’s streets at the weekend is

Daniel Jones.

The 26-year-old from The Street, Borden will be running his first London Marathon in aid of Demelza Hospice Care for Children.

As if running 26 miles wasn’t hard enough, imagine trying to do it with one of your legs strapped to another runner.

That’s the challenge facing Paul Gordon of Bossingham and friend John “Champ” Champion in today’s London Marathon.

Both have run marathons before but this one will be a little bit different.

A former parish clerk and first-time runner will be taking on the London Marathon this month to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

Bridie Birch of The Street, Goodnestone, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was 21, a condition which causes her immune system to attack itself.

Mrs Birch, 35, was Goodnestone Parish Clerk for six years until recently.

Sam Sellick who is running the London marathon in full fire gear in world record attempt

Trevor Harrison, of Wards Hill Road, Minster, is hoping to beat his personal best of three hours 38 minutes when he joins in to raise money for Sense, the national deaf blind charity.

The 53-year-old has run five marathons since 2011 and has been training hard for his next one.

He always gives his medals to seven-year-old daughter Poppy.

Four members of Sheppey family the Allchins will also be taking part.
Martin, of Lynmouth Drive, Minster; Vincent, of Sunnyside Avenue, Minster, Jim, who now lives in London and Luke, who is at Surrey University, have been competing in various runs as a quartet since September and raising money for charity.

They were selected through the ballot process for the London Marathon so will not be fundraising this time.

A marathon veteran is hitting the road again to raise money for a charity close to his wife’s heart.

Alan Cowan, 55, from Gravesend, is running the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise money EllenorLions Hospices.

His wife, Margaret Mary, has worked for the hospice in Coldharbour Road, Northfleet, for 14 years and he hopes to generate £500 for the cause.

Apologies to any Kent runners not mentioned here, but all the best for the big day.

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