Meet Our 2019 London Marathoners

These brave City Runners are only a day away from taking on 26.2 miles through one of the greatest cities in the world (which also happens to be our hometown!). Many are running for great causes, and you can read all about our runners and their journeys below.

CAROLINE

Caroline was lucky enough to secure a place through the ballot, and is running her second marathon for Mind.

Why did you decide to run for Mind even though you had a ballot place? 

I decided to raise money for Mind as I really think it’s important to raise awareness of mental health – running for me has been a way to relieve stress and without it I would be lost! I wanted to show how much running can go hand in hand with better mental health. 

What was the most difficult part of your training?

I think the hardest part was finding the time, especially fitting training between work and work travel. I had to find a way to train in 30 degree heat in Singapore for two weeks but hopefully I am all the stronger for it, although it didn’t feel like that at the time! 

Anything else you would like to share?

When I run on Sunday, I will be thinking of an old friend who got me into running many years ago but is sadly no longer with us. I couldn’t even run five minutes but he gradually got me up to 5k and then 10k. Sadly, he never got to see me run a marathon but I am sure he’ll be watching on Sunday and I’ll be thinking of him to keep me going to the end. This year also is my first in London City Runners and I’ve had the best welcome to the club and  am so pleased I joined. Tim and Kerry always make you feel like part of the family and I can’t wait to spend the summer doing lots of runs with the club now my monster marathon training is out of the way!

You can help Caroline support Mind here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CarolineMcCormick1

DANIELA

Running the London Marathon was always my dream, but for a 45 year old woman who had never run before, it seemed an impossible task. Then in October 2017 I was offered a charity place by a small charity very close to my heart and I had 7 months to train from no distance to a marathon distance. I am very proud to say that I DID it; I ran last year’s marathon in 4 hours 45 mins and my life totally changed. I fell in love with running. Since then I set myself many more running challenges at home and abroad; I also recently ran two International marathons (in Lanzarote and Limassol).

I was surprised when I found out that I secured a ballot place for this year’s marathon but I’m over the moon as the London Marathon is so special to me. I joined the London City Runners in January this year as I really want to work on my speed and beat last year’s time.


DEANNA

Deanna is running the London Marathon (her second marathon this month, after Manchester!) in order to raise money for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE).

Why did you decide to fundraise for the CLPE?

I’m a primary school teacher, so the CLPE is very close to my heart. They support me and my colleagues in delivering high-quality Literacy learning to our pupils every day. As a result of their research and the resources they create, my children are thriving academically and most importantly, becoming readers who read for pleasure.

What are you most looking forward to after the race? 

Drinking and eating something that isn’t warm water or an energy gel.

Any advice for people looking to run their first marathon? 

Do it! It will be one of the best thing you’ve ever done. Trust your training, enjoy the race and if you’re a bit worried about being ‘slow’- don’t be. A 6 hour marathon is still the same 26.2 miles!

If you would like to help Deanna support the CLPE, you can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/deannaldnmcr.

DOMINIC

Dominic is running his second marathon for Oxfam. You can help him support Oxfam here:https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dominic-bunjevac1?fbclid=IwAR2wtljK9KPFjdeOoXD-V6LNTWse4PP3LSEYzWlVsvPWjFKq72GVGM75wKE

Why did you want to run the London Marathon this year?

Running my first London Marathon in 2017 was the reason I wanted to run it again. It is an amazing and very unique experience.

Have you given anything up during your training?

I have given up smoking and drinking, and have changed my diet entirely – in the last month. To be fair this wasn’t for the marathon; my blood pressure was critically high so it was mandated by my doctor. In fact, I was only cleared to run the marathon a week ago.

DONALD

Donald is running his second marathon for the Mayor of Southwark’s chosen charities. 

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon this year?

I initially missed out on the ballot, but there were a few places available through the Mayor of Southwark, so I put my name in the hat and managed to get a place. I’ve been really bad with my training, so I’m expecting a hard day on Sunday – but it will be fun nonetheless! I feel that after the Athens marathon, this should be a fun one to run. 

Have you given anything up during your training? 

I haven’t given up anything…but I probably should have given up beer!

Do you have any advice for someone looking to run their first marathon?

Try and stick to a good training plan! Speak to anyone at the club apart from me to find one…

IVI

Ivi is running her first marathon in support of Action Aid. 

What made you decide to take the plunge and sign up for your first marathon?

It felt like a now or never moment. I ran my 10th half just before the charity sign up period in October, so it felt like a good time to step up. And FOMO! Lots of friends have signed up for spring marathons and I didn’t want to miss out on the fun.  

Why did you want to fundraise for Action Aid?

I spent months last year reporting on the barriers girls in the world’s poorest countries face going to school and was keen to run for a charity that focuses on girls’ education. Action Aid was a natural fit, especially after I found out Lizzie was also running for them. 

What were the most memorable parts of your training?

Running with friends. I would have never been able to get this far on my own. 

And also the 5:45 a.m. run on a work trip to the Swiss mountains. It was -18 degrees Celsius and tiny icicles formed on my eyelashes. 

Are you looking forward to anything after the race? 

A glorious pint of beer.

To help Ivi support Action Aid, you can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/run-ivi-run.

JANET

This will be Janet’s 16thmarathon. After the race, she’s most looking forward to see her husband Peter at the finish and heading off for a big pub lunch. 

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon this year?

It’s my home city marathon and always a favourite, wherever else I run. I love the whole thing – the expo, the other runners who are so friendly and encouraging, and the crowd all along the route. The whole thing has such a buzz to it – the atmosphere is fantastic. 

Have you given anything up during your training?

Not really, I have actually gained training for the marathon. I have used time to train and get fitter that I might otherwise have spent sitting in front of the TV. 

What advice do you have for someone wanting to run their first marathon?

Find a training programme that’s suitable for beginners and allow yourself enough time to follow it and build up your running gradually. Listen to your body too; if it’s telling you to rest or you’re feeling unwell, it could be better to miss a run than push through. On marathon day, just enjoy it. Whatever time you finish in will be a PB. 

Anything else to share?

I’d like to wish the very best of luck to everyone running in the London Marathon. 

JANINE

Janine is running her second marathon for Task Brasil. You can donate to Janine here:https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=Janine_Makaronidis&pageUrl=1.

Why did you decide to run for Task Brasil? 

I travelled to South America before going to university and saw how hard life is for children living on the streets. Therefore, when I saw the advert for Task Brasil’s charity places I knew I should do this. 

What was the hardest part of your training? And the most memorable moment?

Getting injured five weeks into training. I got a foot injury on one of my training runs, which meant I had to miss several training sessions and drop my expectations about time. The most memorable moment was finishing my longest run, a 24 mile training race at Dorney Lake on a high.

Any advice for someone looking to run their first marathon? 

Just go for it and enjoy the journey taking you to race day.

JENNY

After running her first marathon in Dublin last October, Jenny caught the running bug and is running her second marathon for the RFU Injured Players Foundation. 

What was the hardest part of your training?

I think the hardest part of the training for me is fitting the long runs into my week! Even though I actually love being out for hours and exploring new places on my long runs, they definitely require planning. When you’re busy at the weekend and the only option is to wake up at 5am before work just to cram in 20 odd miles… it’s a few hours where all life choices are questioned. 

What are you most looking forward to after the race? 

I would love to say putting my feet up and never running again but realistically that doesn’t sound like me at all! So the thing I’m looking forward to most is the satisfaction and sense of achievement that will rush over me once stepping over that finish line!

Do you have any advice for people looking to run their first marathon? 

I think the best advice I ever received was to build up slowly! As you start to feel great and get faster, it is tempting to continuously go out harder and for longer without allowing your body to recover. Unfortunately this is a recipe for injury as your body cannot adapt to the change quickly and can break down. The best method is to follow a training plan and increase your mileage and training by only 10% each week to allow your body to recover. Resist the temptation to push yourself too hard!

KAI

Kai was lucky enough to get a mythical ballot place this year. He’s run London once before, on behalf of the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), a charity that improves the lives of the elderly in hospital and at home. 

What has your training been like?

I’ve adjusted my training plan a lot to accommodate injury and it has included the softer ground of trail running. The country sights, varied terrain and closeness to natural surroundings has given an unexpectedly calming, beautiful and playful dimension to training. 

Have you given anything up while training for London? 

I don’t think I’ve given up anything for the marathon, but have gained so much; physical and mental  health, focus and a friendly social environment with other runners. 

Do you have any advice for a first-time marathoner? 

Be mindfully in the present moment, have gratitude for the journey and enjoy it!

KATIE B.

Katie is running her first marathon to support Whizz Kidz. 

What made you decide to sign up for your first marathon? 

I started running about a year ago through London City Runners, and went from struggling to complete 5km to 10km to 13.1 miles, so a marathon seemed like the next logical step. I also read Born to Run and loved the message about running for the joy of it, as well as learning about what makes a long distance runner. 

Why did you decide to run on behalf of Whizz Kidz?

I am raising money for Whizz Kidz, a charity that work with disabled children. Whizz Kidz is a fantastic charity that I contacted after a recommendation from a friend. Whizz Kidz enables wheelchair-bound children and young people to reach their full potential with access to specialist wheel chairs. Whizz Kidz also campaigns for disabled access in public spaces and supplies specialist support to give young people confidence.  

Help Katie support Whizz Kidz here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KatieBellinger

KATIE M.

Another lucky ballot winner, Katie is running her second marathon following Brighton in 2018, where she raised money for BEAT, a charity that supports people with eating disorders. After the race, she’s most looking forward to a lasagna and a pint!

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon this year?

I have wanted to run the London Marathon forever! I’ve actually entered the ballot every year since I was 18 and finally got a space! Living on the course has also inspired me to give it a go, as the atmosphere makes you feel like you’re Mo Farah, even if you’re hours behind him! 

What’s your advice for someone who wants to run a marathon?

1. Sports massage – I feel like this saved me during my training this year. 40 mins every two/three weeks has made me feel so much better.

2. Podcasts  – There is only so much music you can listen to! After 4 hours you just need a break, so I love a podcast, especially one that makes you smile when you really can’t be bothered anymore.

3. Try new runs – I always try to run to new places just to make it more exciting and I’ve seen some lush parts of London through my training. 

Anything else to add?

Give me a cheer when I look like death on the course and I’ll try to give you a smile!

LIZZIE

Lizzie is running her second marathon for Action Aid.

Why did you decide to sign up for the London Marathon?

The London Marathon is something that I have aspired to for many years but had never really thought was for me. A gentle nudge from my mum put that right.. and here I am!

What charity are you supporting?

I am raising money for ActionAid, a charity my family have supported for a number of years and who do fantastic work with women living in very tough conditions around the world. 

Have you given anything up during your training cycle?

I could say that I’ve given up alcohol and late nights out for training…but I think more about how much I’ve gained over the last few months, training with amazing friends (met through LCR) who have provided unending support and always given me motivation to run, even in horrific weather! 

Anything else to share?

Thanks for the cheers on the course…I’m going to need it!

You can help Lizzie support Action Aid here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EQ92.

MARCEL

Marcel has been documenting the journey to his first 26.2 on his blog MKruns262.co.uk

What prompted you to sign up for your first marathon?

Running a marathon has always been on my bucket list. I love London so I was really keen to do my first 26.2-miler here. I’ve been running since high school, but running a marathon always seemed somewhat unachievable. It will probably be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, but I want to see if I can do it.  

What was the most memorable part of your training?

The most memorable part of my training was going to Berlin with the City Runners crew to tackle the German capital’s flagship half marathon. I was hoping to take the race steady and then push towards the end. With amazing crowds and flat course, I managed to do just that, gaining more confidence for the upcoming Big Day in London. 

What charity are you fundraising for?

I’m running for the charity called Sense, as I love the work they’re doing. They help those living with complex disabilities (such as deafblind) and I’m really honoured to be able to support them with my run.

To help Marcel support Sense, you can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mkruns262.

MARK

After running the London Marathon, Mark will also be tackling the Chicago and New York City marathons this year.

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon?

I wanted to push myself beyond the half marathons I’d been doing.

Any advice for first time marathoners?

I would say, try not to focus on a time goal but the distance goal. I think of it as doing 4 x 10K and just a bit more. Breaking down the distance seems to help.

MORGAN

Morgan is running her first marathon in support of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education.

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon? 

Honestly it was a very quick decision. The night before I signed up for London, I was telling people I would never run a marathon. I got my marathon spot through the Mayor of Southwark who I had coached on the Couch to 5k course, so in the end it was quite an easy decision. In some ways, it was the motivation I needed to give a marathon a go.

Why did you want to raise money for the CLPE?

I chose the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education as I believe that education is a really important part of any society and that the ability to read and write is at the heart of how the world works, how we pass on information and how we communicate. It is also a way of getting lost in worlds that maybe don’t exist anywhere other than in a good book. Being able to help support the futures of our young people feels like a really good reason to run 26.2 miles.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to run their first marathon?

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do it, as long as you put the training in you will be fine. Also don’t get too fixated on time, 26.2 miles is a long way, so whatever time you finish in you should be happy with – just focus on finishing it (the current advice I’m giving myself!)

What are you most looking forward to after the race?

Just seeing my boyfriend, family and friends. I am known for being pretty emotional at the end of a race, so there will probably be a lot of crying involved!

NIK

Nik is running his fifth marathon for the SPC for the Mayor of Southwark. He has previously run two ultramarathons and the 2019 London Marathon is just a part of his 50 mile training plan. Including the marathon, Nik will run 108K this week!

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon?

I was lucky enough to find an entry through the running club and the London marathon has always been on my bucket list.

Have you given anything up while training?

Haha, you don’t intentionally give anything up but training takes so much time. I run 10 hours a week currently, so my social life usually involves me meeting people at the end of my run.

What are you most looking forward to after the race?

An afternoon of drinking and socialising with friends, guilt free!

Any advice for someone looking to run their first marathon?

Just do it! Everyone is capable of running a marathon. Just find a training plan and register for a race. As long as you stick to the training plan, it is a fun run and the feeling of accomplishment at the end is second to none!

STEPHANIE

Stephanie is running her first marathon for Cancer Research UK and Brain Research UK. Help Stephanie support both here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StephanieDavies22

Why did you decide to fundraise for these two charities? 

I  am running for Cancer Research UK in memory of my nan. I ran my first 10km for Cancer Research UK two years ago, and it was this race that started my running journey. The second charity is Brain Research UK, as my nan passed away due to a brain tumour and I also have friends who suffer from other brain related illnesses including MS. 

What prompted you to sign up for your first marathon? 

The achievement of completing my first half marathon last year, and thinking with some serious training and dedication a full marathon may just be possible.

Why did you choose the London Marathon as your first? 

I have watched it for many years as I lived in Bermondsey. I love the atmosphere and always thought one day I would love to run it – with the other half of my brain reminding me it’s so far! 

TODD

The 2019 London Marathon with be Todd’s 26thmarathon! His best advice for someone looking to tackle their first is to be smart about your training and listen to your body, but also enjoy every minute of the process!

Why did you want to run the London Marathon this year?

I have a goal to run a marathon on every continent and to complete the Abbot World Marathon Majors, so London fits right in. Of all the races, though, I’m looking forward to this one the most due to its festive, supportive atmosphere and fact that I’ll be running it in my new hometown with so many incredible people from LCR.

What was the hardest part of your training?

I travel a lot for work, so sometimes finding a time or a place to get something done can be a challenge.  Having to scale back to nurse an injury is never fun.  Lacing up the shoes and getting outside on those really cold days.  

What are you most looking forward to after the race?

The next race!  Aside from that, joining my  wife and friends for the after party and taking comfort in my accomplishment.  

Anything else you’d like to share?

Thanks to Tim, Kerry and LCR for making this expat feel at home!

WAN

Wan is running to support Task Brasil, a UK-based charity that helps homeless children in Brazil. You can support his cause here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/wanliu.

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon? 

In the 80s, the route of the London Marathon passed within meters of my house. As a child I was captivated by the sheer number of runners passing by. I wasn’t any good at running, nor did I even know what the event was, I just knew I wanted to be part of it. Fast forward 30+ years, the 2019 London Marathon will be my 9th Marathon. It’ll be my 3rd London event, and I’m sure this won’t be my last.

Any advice for someone thinking of running their first marathon?

If you’re a new comer or thinking of running a marathon for the first time, I won’t lie, it’s not easy and you can never be 100% prepared for the event.  But these famous words from Henry Ford normally keep me going: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Best of luck to all City Runners running the 2019 London Marathon!

Responses have been lightly edited for length or clarity.

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