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Kent steps up for London Marathon challenge - meet some of the county's runners

The carbohydrates are being consumed as runners from across Kent get ready for today's London Marathon.

This is the 36th year of the world's most famous fund-raising race, Here’s a selection of those taking part in

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Owen Wood of Maidstone who is running the London Marathon and raising money for Cystic Fibrosis. He is pictured with pregnant wife Rachel. Picture: Matthew Walker
Owen Wood of Maidstone who is running the London Marathon and raising money for Cystic Fibrosis. He is pictured with pregnant wife Rachel. Picture: Matthew Walker

Owen Wood will be thinking of his younger brother Connor who suffers from cystic fibrosis, while running.

Mr Wood, of Waterlow Road, Maidstone, said: “I’m not a fan of running so this will be a great personal challenge for me.”

He is supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

The 27-year-old new father was also inspired to raise money after his wife suffered with a brain tumour at the age of 26 and his fundraising stands at £2,016 so far.

Viki Garrett, of Charlton Street, Maidstone
Viki Garrett, of Charlton Street, Maidstone

Viki Garrett will raise money for research into Alzheimer’s and said: “It’s so sad one day you could forget so many happy memories.

“I’m a big believer in enjoying life and making the most of each day, so it would be awful to forget your achievements, holidays and special times with family and friends.”

The 30-year-old, of Charlton Street, Maidstone, is often found taking part in Maidstone’s parkrun on Saturday morning and has recently completed the Paddock Wood Half Marathon.

Jayne Turner running London Marathon for British Heart Foundation
Jayne Turner running London Marathon for British Heart Foundation

Jayne Turner is running in memory of her first husband Jason ‘Jay’ Stone, who died of ischaemic heart disease aged just 32.

He left two-year-old son Bradley, the day before his third birthday, and 11-week-old daughter Millie, when he died in May 2003.

Mrs Turner is running for the British Heart Foundation to save other families from the pain they went through.

The 42-year-old, of Roseacre Lane, Bearsted, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes while training for the marathon, said: “Knowing Jay is up there watching over me will get me through my training and help me finish this fantastic event, along with the support of my friends and family.”

Kay Neve running London Marathon 2016 in aid of Mind
Kay Neve running London Marathon 2016 in aid of Mind

Kay Neve’s husband Matthew lost both his brothers to suicide and her marathon will be in their memory.

Accountant Andrew died 20 years ago, aged 28, and father-of-three Paul, a prosthetist who worked with injured children and servicemen, passed away two years ago, aged 49.

Her son’s friend also took his own life, at 17.

Mrs Neve took early retirement from her job as a detective constable at Kent Police in 2014 when she developed osteoarthritis in her knee.

The 49-year-old from Weavering, who now works as an education welfare officer, will donate to mental health charity Mind.

She said: “At some point all of us will experience something we struggle to deal with.

“If we are lucky it will be a temporary debility. For others it’s not so easy and life becomes a constant battle.”

Julian and Elise Rendall will be running the marathon for the Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

The siblings, from Tunbridge Wells want to show their appreciation for the care and support they provided to Mr Rendall’s son, William, when he underwent open heart surgery last year to rectify a heart defect.

The pair said: “We would like to help support other children and families who need their care.

“A number of our friends have also benefited from the fantastic service that they provide.”

They hope to raise £3,000 for the charity and have already passed the £1,000 marker.

Gina Crocker is running the London Marathon to mark 60th birthday and retirement from nursing after 42 years
Gina Crocker is running the London Marathon to mark 60th birthday and retirement from nursing after 42 years

Nurse Gina Crocker will tackle the London course six days after her 60th birthday to raise money for Kent Association for the Blind.

The Beaver Road resident, who will also retire from her 42-year career this month.

She previously worked at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury before moving to the renal unit in Maidstone eight years ago. She said: “I was desperate to run the marathon this year and Kent Association for the Blind have let me have a place to run for them. It’s a lot of hard work.”

To date she has raised £620 of the £1,300 target for KAB, which helps over 11,500 sight-impaired people across the county to live independent lives.

Vicky Grantham will be running the London Marathon to raise money for a charity supporting women with a rare lung condition – one of whom is her mother-in-law Sandra Grantham.

The mother-of-three, from Tunbridge Wells, aims to net around £2,000 for LAM Action, which raises funds for research into the incurable lung disease lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)

The former solicitor, married to Rufus, said her goal is to get round and not be last.

Her mother-in-law was diagnosed with LAM in her 30s and given a poor prognosis, but has managed to live a very full life and is now in her 70s.

Charlotte and Ben Jones will be running the London Marathon in aid of Bliss, who helped them when their son Freddie was born seriously ill
Charlotte and Ben Jones will be running the London Marathon in aid of Bliss, who helped them when their son Freddie was born seriously ill

Parents Charlotte and Ben Jones, both 31, will be running for Bliss, a charity which supported them when their son was born not breathing.

A brain scan on their son Freddie, now three, showed he had a moderate degree of brain damage after being starved of oxygen at birth.

Charlotte, of Shipbourne Road, Tonbridge, said: “Initially we thought he would never sit up unaided but he has just started to walk independently, which is amazing. He has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and involuntary eye movement, but he continues to go above and beyond what was ever expected of him.”

Charlotte was due to run the London marathon in 2015, but had to postpone after falling pregnant with her second child - Heidi, who turns one in August.

Andy Smith, 22, is running his first race on behalf of the children’s charity Barnardos.

Mr Smith, of Ash Grove, Allington, a debt management consultant, said: “I’ve been trying to get fit – and running the marathon seemed like the ultimate challenge.

“I had a very happy upbringing, so raising funds for Barnados to help children less fortunate than me seems like a great idea.”

Natalie Arkle will be running the London Marathon
Natalie Arkle will be running the London Marathon

Natalie Arkle, a paramedic from Tunbridge Wells was inspired by seeing her sisters run the marathon.

The 34-year-old was inspired to take on the 26-mile challenge to raise money for Sense, the national deafblind charity after seeing her sisters Katie, aged 37 and Ellie, aged 25, take part for the same charity.

Miss Arkle, of Woodbury Park Road, is aiming to complete her first marathon in less than four and a half hours and raise £1,500.

Creative director Lizzy Pollott, 33, has raised almost £5,000 for ovarian cancer charity Ovacome since former Kent College teacher Rosanne died from the disease in 2001, aged 50.

Rosanne taught at both Kent College and Vernon Holme and was a dedicated member of the Canterbury Choral Society.

1604211523523-London Marathon map 2016.pdf

Ovacome was founded and run by women with ovarian cancer and has been supporting patients and their families since 1996.

The force will be with teacher Anthony Mardon as he takes on his 20th marathon – because he’ll be dressed as Star Wars icon Princess Leia.

The dad-of-three will also carry a lightsaber in his bid to raise hundreds of pounds for the Pilgrims Hospice in memory of one of his heroes, horror film actor Peter Cushing.

The 43-year-old, of Pollard Place in Whitstable, said: “My mum would record the Hammer Horror double bills on a Saturday night when I was young and we would come down on a Sunday and watch them together.

“I loved the Dracula and Frankenstein films and I love Star Wars and Peter Cushing’s evil Grand Moff Tarkin is fantastic.

“I now live in Whitstable, Peter Cushing’s home town and I know he spent his last days at the Pilgrims Hospice. The hospice is a great charity and being a huge Cushing fan, I wanted to keep the link so chose the Star Wars costume” - Anthony Mardon

“I now live in Whitstable, Peter Cushing’s home town and I know he spent his last days at the Pilgrims Hospice.

“The hospice is a great charity and being a huge Cushing fan, I wanted to keep the link so chose the Star Wars costume.”

Mr Mardon, who has already raised £300, ran the Brighton Marathon on Sunday and has travelled across Europe for other competitive runs.

A postman from Faversham will reach double figures when he takes to the starting line on Sunday.

Graham Bedford, 54, of Athelstan Road, will be running his 10th London Marathon for a charity which has become close to his heart.

He said: “I’m running this year for the Kent Association for the Blind because a close friend of mine lost his sight recently.

He has already raised £1,300.

Graham usually runs for the Multiple Sclerosis Society for his wife Josephine, who has had the condition for more than 10 years.

The dad-of-two has raised more than £10,000 for the charity and hopes to equal those efforts for the Kent Association for the Blind.

No stranger to fundraising, he recently took part in a three-hour boxing session called Box 2 Beat Cancer, a national incentive to raise cash for the Ovarian Cancer Action.

East Malling caretaker Aaron Johnstone, 43 is taking on the challenge to raise funds for Beating Bowel Cancer after his wife, Deborah, was diagnosed with the disease in her late 20s.

He said: “Thankfully she made a full recovery and was given the all-clear nine years ago.”

Deborah will be cheering Aaron on from the Beating Bowel Cancer charity point on the day.

“This is my second marathon – I ran one 18 months ago and that went smoothly. This time I’ve picked up a couple of injuries but I’m on still on track with the training,” he said.

Each year around 41,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, but if caught early, more than 90% of cases can be treated successfully.

Aaron Johnstone from East Malling is running the 2016 London Marathon for Beating Bowel Cancer
Aaron Johnstone from East Malling is running the 2016 London Marathon for Beating Bowel Cancer

A mum who suffers with arthritis, asthma and hypermobility will be facing a bigger challenge than many this Sunday. Ana Simonds, of Ham Shades Lane in Whitstable, will compete in her first ever marathon, raising vital funds for Mobility Choice.

The charity was established in 1998 and focuses on advancing independent mobility for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Ana, who is the wife of Mobility Choice trustee Mike Simonds, said: “My first race was a real personal achievement.

“It was five miles, which was a long way for me at the time. However, I was soon hooked and have worked hard over the last two years to improve fitness and the distance I can achieve.

“Mobility Choice’s primary function is to organise the popular Mobility Roadshow each year.

“Any funds I can raise will allow this amazing event, for people living with disabilities, to continue to grow from strength to strength, as well as supporting all the other important work the charity undertakes.”

A Herne Bay man will be running the marathon for a charity close to home.

Darren Tuff, 45, has already raised more than £1,000 for Hi Kent, which provides support to deaf and hard of hearing people around the county.

Mr Tuff’s wife Zoe is the charity’s east Kent volunteer coordinator, working at centres in Canterbury and Maidstone.

They rely almost entirely on donations.

Mr Tuff said: “I am looking forward to running this marathon and have chosen Hi Kent because the charity does such a lot of good for people in east Kent and all over the county. It needs all the support it can get to keep its valuable services running.”

Garry Warren and Jake Bowd
Garry Warren and Jake Bowd

Two Thanet bus drivers are preparing to make a marathon fundraising effort.

Garry Warren and Jake Bowd will run the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon for the charity Children with Cancer UK.

The pair, who are both based at Stagecoach’s Westwood bus depot, are aiming to raise £6,000 for the charity.

Garry, 46, said: “We’ve already had a Valentine’s disco, which raised over £600, and a pub quiz night.

“We’re now looking forward to a pool competition at The Odds Social Club in Ramsgate.

“There’s so much happening.This is the first time we’re running for a charity together, and between us we want to make it a really big deal.”

Garry has completed two London marathons before – first in 2005 and again in 2014.

Last time, he raised nearly £3,000 for Pilgrims Hospices.

This year, he has joined up with fellow driver Jake to raise awareness and support for Children with Cancer UK.

This will be Jake’s first attempt at the London marathon. The 24-year-old Ramsgate resident said: “As drivers, we get to know many of our regular customers and their support has been really motivating.

“There are so many people to thank – particularly our colleague Frank Woodford, who’s doing so much for our campaign, and Mary, who travels on the route 38 bus. She’s been out and about drumming up sponsorship for us.”

Almost 4,000 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK.

Garry and Jake will be running in superhero uniforms.

To support Garry and Jake, text GAJA70 and the amount you would like to sponsor – eg, ‘GAJA70 £1’ – to 70070.

A first-time marathon runner will have a best friend in mind when she sets off this weekend.

Victoria Hayes, 26, of Church Way in Whitstable, is raising money for CLIC Sargent, one of the UK’s leading cancer charities for children and young people.

Her friend was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer in 2012 which is inoperable and incurable.

Victoria said: “CLIC Sargent has been there for her since the day of her diagnosis.

“They have given her so much support emotionally and financially and, most importantly, given her a house to stay in while undergoing therapy in London.

“I wish to undertake something that not only tests me to the limits and beyond physically, but emotionally and mentally too.

“I am very excited to be taking part in such an incredible event, although very nervous.

“I wish to raise as much as I can for this charity so they can continue to support children, young people and their families whose lives are turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis.”

Mum-of-two Victoria, a secretary at an estate agents, has been training for months and hopes to raise a minimum of £1,800.

To sponsor Victoria visit www.justgiving.com/Victoria-Hayes4.

Steve Carnt who is running the London Marathon
Steve Carnt who is running the London Marathon

An Iwade dad will be running this weekend’s London Marathon after being inspired by his nine-year-old daughter.

Stephen Carnt will take on the gruelling challenge to raise vital funds for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

He is hoping to raise £2,000 to help the charity continue its research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

The 43-year-old’s daughter was diagnosed with the condition three years ago and is dependent on an insulin pump to help her body function.

The chronic condition is not linked to lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.

But Stephen, who lives in Shooters Chase, Iwade, hopes such research will allow children like his daughter to say goodbye to the daily routine of finger blood tests and insulin injections or pumps forever.

He said: “Running the London Marathon is a huge challenge for me, both physically and mentally, but knowing that I’m raising money for such a vital cause is making the miles go quicker in training.

“It’s also my personal tribute to the fortitude Isobel has shown in growing up with diabetes.”

The firefighter has been training since September and has picked up a number of injuries including plantar fasciitis, a disorder which causes pain in the heel and bottom of the foot.

However, the dad-of-three says it won’t stop him.

“I’ve managed get out and pound the pavement four times a week since I started training but I’ve picked up a few injuries along the way so can’t say
it’s been plain sailing,” he admitted.

“I’m very stubborn though and determined to get round the course even if I’m crawling across the line.”

Stephen has raised more than £1,400 for the charity.

“Isobel says she’s very proud of me but I’m not sure she really understands the enormity of the challenge or how far I’m running – to her I’m just going for another run,” he said.

“My wife Katie has also given me the push I needed on the days I didn’t feel like running.”

Council seafront officer Ian Arnell will be running his second London Marathon this weekend.

The 41-year-old will undertake the 26.2 miles to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK. He took part in the 2007 event and raised £1,400 for the same cause.

Ian was inspired to go the distance for the charity after his father was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in 2006. Dad-of-one Ian said: “Ignoring cancer won’t beat it, so I joined the fight by signing up to run the London Marathon. I feel very passionately about the cause, and I am also a volunteer for the charity.”

The fitness fanatic, who lives in Minster, urges men over 50 to be tested regularly, and those over 40 with a family history of cancer to talk to their doctor.

He said: “Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.”

Sponsor Ian.

Dan Hammond is running the London Marathon for Kidney Research UK
Dan Hammond is running the London Marathon for Kidney Research UK

A paramedic is running his second marathon to raise money for Kidney Research UK which supports one of his best friends.

Dan Hammond, 36, from Ashford will be running for his friend Phil Richardson, who he has known for over 10 years.

Phil had a kidney transplant from his mother when he was younger, is now on the list to receive a second kidney, and is currently being monitored for home dialysis.

Dan completed the Edinburgh Marathon last year and says he has been training solidly since October, including a run out at the Ashford half marathon.

He said: “I’ve run through a few injuries but I’m feeling good. Edinburgh was very hilly and windy, whereas London will be flat and I’m hoping it will be a nice day.

“I feel confident up to the distance of 20 miles, then the final six miles is really the mental challenge bit. I reckon I can run the marathon in a time between four and four and a half hours.”

(BLOB) To view Dan’s fundraising page visit www.justgiving.com/Richardson-Hammond.

Kelly Godden who is running to beat childhood cancer
Kelly Godden who is running to beat childhood cancer

Running the marathon is the latest fundraising effort by the owner of a Tenterden children’s shop in aid of Children with Cancer UK.

Earlier this month, Thumbelina boss Kelly Godden, 35, right, organised an auction of antiques at Tenterden’s Woolpack pub with landlord Rob Cowan that raised £900 for the children’s charity.

Kelly, a mum of three, said that friends and family who had been affected by cancer had inspired her to back the charity.

Kelly, who lives in
St Michael’s, only took up running in September when her brother persuaded her to take part in a Tough Mudder obstacle-course challenge.

A member of the Hamstreet Run England club, she will tackle the marathon alongside fellow club members Anna Akers and Ian Kirby.

To sponsor Kelly, email her.

Liz Hiscutt before her weight loss - she used to struggle just to walk but is now about to embark on the London Marathon
Liz Hiscutt before her weight loss - she used to struggle just to walk but is now about to embark on the London Marathon

Liz Hiscutt was once so overweight, she struggled to walk.

But since losing 9 stone – half her body weight – she is now preparing to tackle the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon.

The 41-year-old, from Southfleet, said: “My family were one of the key reasons for me wanting to take control of my weight and change my unhealthy lifestyle.

“I had managed to avoid the serious illnesses related to being morbidly obese, but it was quite clear that I was unavoidably heading down that track.”

She started losing weight through Slimming World four years ago this month. It took her two years to halve her body weight and she has sustained it for two years.

She downloaded the Couch to 5k app, joined a running club last year and has completed 10km runs, half-marathons and two 26-mile Shine Night Walks.

Liz said: “I’m happier and healthier, and by losing weight I’ve reduced my chances of developing a range of health problems including some types of cancer. I have more energy and I can do more for my family.

“I finally feel like I am being the best sister and daughter that I can be.”

Liz is one of a team of 13 who will be representing Slimming World.

They have lost a combined total of 92 stone and are raising money for Cancer Research UK to raise awareness of how keeping a healthy weight improves health and lowers the risk of developing some types of cancer.

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