THERE were personal bests, blisters, and even new world records as a host of West Berkshire runners hit the streets of the capital for this year’s London Marathon.
The district's experienced runners along with marathon first-timers raised thousands of pounds for charity by completing the gruelling 26.2-mile race.
Newbruy's Sue Ridgeon (pictured above with BBC's Ore Oduba) was flush with excitement after making it into the Guinness World Records for her London Marathon effort.
The 37-year-old completed the route in four hours and 54 minutes, making her the fastest person in the world ever to complete a marathon dressed as a toilet roll.
After completing what was her first marathon, Ms Ridgeon said: “It was amazing, it didn’t disappoint.
“Everyone says it’s the supporters that make it and I couldn’t disagree.
“I got support the whole way round.
“To get the record I had to get under five hours so I was delighted to have made it.”
Ms Ridgeon has raised a total of £2,968, including Gift Aid, for The Lullaby Trust, Nightingale House Hospice and Marie Curie.
“I chose three charities that meant a lot to me and my family,” she said.
“Originally I set a target of £600, but everyone’s just been so generous.”
To sponsor Ms Ridgeon visit virginmoneygiving.com/sueridgeon
Ben Richardson (pictured) set himself the challenge of running to the start line for Sunday’s big race, so he spent eight days navigating the length of the River Thames to end up in the capital in time to complete his first official marathon.
“I am very emotional and kind of sad now it is all over,” the dad-of-one said afterwards. “What an absolutely amazing event the London Marathon is.”
He decided to take on the challenge to help raise money and awareness of dementia after his grandmother was diagnosed with the condition in 2009.
“I wanted to enter the London Marathon, but I didn’t think I could ask people to sponsor me to do something that I love doing – running,” he said. “So I wanted to come up with a challenge that really tested me and this was just that.”
Throughout his training, which saw him running in 38 degree heat in Australia and New Zealand, Mr Richardson was supported by his wife, Rhiannon and his young daughter Etta.
“I cannot thank them enough,” he said. “Their support is immeasurable. It has been a very emotional time and I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me along the way.”
Mr Richardson has raised more than £7,500 for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Sarah Harvey (pictured above), from Newbury, ran the marathon in memory of her cousin, Rob George, despite suffering from tonsillitis the week before.
The mum-of-four has raised more than £3,000 for the Rob George Foundation, which provides financial support to young people with life-threatening illnesses.
She said: “I was so ill last week and didn’t think I would do it, but I did it. As I wasn’t actually pushing myself, I was able to take it all in and it was actually more enjoyable than my first one last year.”
Claire Welch from Newbury, ran a personal best in her third London Marathon, finishing in 4 hours 38 minutes.
The mum-of-two has raised £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of her father and other close friends who have been affected by the disease.
Her son William, a Year 7 pupil at Park House School, also completed three 10km runs in one day earlier this month to add to the fundraising.
Simon Hunt, 42, who was competing in his second London Marathon, finished with a personal best of five hours and 25 minutes.
Simon said: “It was close at mile 14 for me to give up as my calf injury kicked in and the blisters on my feet were unbearable, but my amazing wife Julie Hunt and my amazing daughter Evie got me through.”
He is just £200 short of his £2,000 fundraising target for World Cancer Research UK. You can sponsor him at www.justgiving.com/ fundraising/Simon-Hunt13
Sue and Paul Bennett and Denise and Brian Matthews (pictured above) from Newbury joined Debbie Germain from Hermitage to run the London Marathon for MS-UK.
Mrs Bennett, who completed the marathon with Mr Bennett in four hours and 39 minutes, said: “We all got on brilliantly. Everyone finished and thoroughly enjoyed the amazing support from everyone.
“It was described as like seeing a ‘never ending sea of runners’ – a very inspiring day.”
Marc Gudgeon (pictured below), who also joined the group, recovered from injury and ran for Newbury and District Cancer Care Trust in a time of three hours and 42 minutes.
Dr Ruth Lambert and medical secretary Steph Malone from Newbury raised £7,250 for the Anthony Nolan leukaemia charity.
The pair, who work at Falkland Surgery, crossed the finish line in four hours and 31 minutes.
Dr Lambert said: “The marathon is amazing and we had fantastic support from crowds along the way – the atmosphere was unbelievable.
“We want to thank all the staff, patients and patient participation group from the Falkland Surgery for their support.”
Catherine Cox (above) ran the marathon to raise funds for children’s bereavement charity Daisy’s Dream after losing a family friend to a brain tumour.
The charity supported her friend Sarah Jones and her two young children after Mrs Jones’ husband died earlier this year, aged 44.
Mrs Cox completed the run in hree hours and 40 minutes raising £650. That figure is set to rise to £800 with funds still coming in.
"It’s the most fantastic marathon out there. The crowd support is amazing and there’s so many people running raising funds for charity it’s just incredible,” said Mrs Cox.
Gareth Scourfield, 46, from Newbury completed the race in an impressive two hours 48 minutes, making him the fastest runner in the Parkinson’s UK team.
Gareth (pictured above) has raised £1,000 running for his brother-in-law, Nick, who is 45 and living with Parkinson’s.