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Sittingbourne and Sheppey runners prepare for virtual London Marathon

A team from charity Swale Action to End Domestic Abuse (Sateda) is taking part in this weekend's London Marathon Virtual Challenge.

Six runners will start their 26.2-mile route on Sundayfrom the Bredgar Farm Shop and continue through Sittingbourne and Iwade to Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey where they will make a brief stop at Masters House in Trinity Road around noon.

Sateda route for London Marathon virtua challenge (42529265)
Sateda route for London Marathon virtua challenge (42529265)

They will then head back to Milton Creek Country Park aiming to finish around 2pm.

A second group of three in Medway will be walking around Gillingham Park, Park Avenue, 52 times and plan complete the course within eight hours.

Another two will be running for the charity in the USA in a trans-Atlantic link-up.

Sateda spokesman Carey Philpott said: "Team Sateda have been training hard and this weekend they take on the London Marathon Virtual Challenge while raising funds to support our essential domestic abuse services. We have a team of runners spilt across two countries - the UK and the USA. Our two international runners are in Michigan and New York. They will have the additional challenge of completing the event in British Summer Time."

The charity provides support, advice and guidance for victims of domestic abuse. For more details visit www.sateda.org .

Husband and wife London Marathon virtual challenge team Steph and John Gill from Minster, Sheppey (42530261)
Husband and wife London Marathon virtual challenge team Steph and John Gill from Minster, Sheppey (42530261)

Husband and wife John and Steph Gill will also be tackling the virtual marathon on the Isle of Sheppey.

John, from Minster, said: "I will be running from Tesco Gillingham to The Leas at Minster with Steph and her Beginners To Runners buddies.

"Please come out and safely support us somewhere along the route or give us a hoot if you’re driving past. Whenrunning London it brings crowds of people lining the streets cheering you on but we won’t have that on our virtual marathon this year."

The Gills kick off at 9am and are hoping to finish at 3pm.

Mum-of-two Steph said: "I am running for my dad who I lost to myeloma in 2008."

John and Steph Gill's virtual marathon route (42530257)
John and Steph Gill's virtual marathon route (42530257)

"He was diagnosed at the end of 2007. During a round of treatment he was suddenly taken ill with an infection. Less than 24hrs after being admitted to hospital, he passed away on Sunday, April 6. 2008. It snowed that day."

Her husband finally successfully ran the official London Marathon last year after eight years of entering the ballot but failed to secure a place this year. The former BT engineer is also training for a triathlon.

Steph said: "I’d never run at all before September 2018 but joined the Sheppey group Beginners2Runners (B2R) and did their 10 weeks nothing to 5km course. I ran my first 5k in December 2018 in 43 minutes. Now I can run 5k in under 30."

On April 5 she was set to run the Manchester Marathon but Covid-19 cancelled it.

She added: "John and I now have the opportunity to run a marathon under the banner of London Marathon and get a medal. This time, we are running our own route with four of my running club ladies.

Marathon runners Steph and John Gill from Sheppey
Marathon runners Steph and John Gill from Sheppey

"Neither John nor I have trained for a marathon in the same way I did at the start of the year or John did last year. But we are determined to complete the distance! We’re doing this enormous challenge for my Dad. Myeloma UK support patients and families of those diagnosed with myeloma and fund vital research into this relatively rare cancer."

Joining them on the route will be Nichola Lassnig, Alex Holmes, Rachel Valerio and Rhonda Bullen.

Nichola, who is running from Demelza Children's Hospice based in Sittingbourne, said: "I joined B2R in January 2019 totally unable to run. But after 10 weeks I could do 5k and went on to 10k and then 16k followed by a half marathon in March. I am due to run the Brighton marathon next April. On Sunday I am a support runner for Rhonda who was actually mat to be running the London Marathon. The club has certainly changed my life and opened up so many doors."

Rhonda said: "My chosen charity is Alzheimer's having been a care worker in a dementia home for two years and having a family member suffering from the disease."

She joined B2R in January this year never having run before and after completing 5k and 10k runs "got the bug."

Sheppey marathon runner Steph Gill and members of the Beginners2Runners team
Sheppey marathon runner Steph Gill and members of the Beginners2Runners team

Alex was due to take part in the Brighton marathon. She said: "This will be my first marathon. I couldn't wish to be doing it with a better group of people."

Rachel was also due to take part in the Brighton marathon. She said: "I'm pleased to have been given the opportunity to run the London virtual marathon."

Sheppey-based comedian Adam Morrison will also be pounding the streets for the Navy Wings appeal. He was due to set off from Minster and take in Iwade and Newington before ending in Sheerness. He said: "I need to raise £100. If you fancy donating please click on the link . Coins are good but notes are better."

With the coronavirus restrictions in place the annual RNLI lifeboat run on Sheppey was also cancelled. But that did not stop a number ofregular runners who organised and took part in a virtual 'Lifeboat run' to raise much needed funds for the RNLI.

Among them were five members of the Mumford family led by Ian who between them raised £260 to be donated in memory of Ian's dad.

Mumford and family: Ian Mumford and his family raised £260 for the RNLI in a virtual lifeboat run on the Isle of Sheppey. Picture: RNLI
Mumford and family: Ian Mumford and his family raised £260 for the RNLI in a virtual lifeboat run on the Isle of Sheppey. Picture: RNLI

The annual Island Run, set up in memory of former head teacher Paul Trigwell was postponed earlier this year but is to go ahead on Sunday, October 18, from Beachfields, Sheerness at 10am.

Organisers say the 5k and 10k family-friendly races will be coronavirus-safe.

For details, visit here .

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne here

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey here

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