London Marathon 2021 - West Berkshire and North Hampshire residents set new British records and raise vital cash for charities
A record-breaking runner, a woman who suffered from a rare spinal condition just three years ago, an 18-year-old running in memory of his uncle and two people raising money for Mencap for very personal reasons were just some of the participants of this year's London Marathon.
History was made as Newbury Athletics Club's Mike Sheridan became the first British runner over the age of 70 to complete the race in under three hours.
The 72-year-old finished the 26.2 mile course in an official time of 2:59.37, to write his name into the history books. Mr Sheridan also became only the third person in the world to achieve this feat.
The 2021 event - the 41st London Marathon - was postponed from its usual April date to Sunday (October 3) due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
As the sun shone and the rain from the previous day cleared, more than 36,000 runners headed to the capital to take part in the 26.2 mile event. All over the country thousands more people took part virtually, running the distance wherever they could.
Thank you to everyone who has sent in their stories and photographs from this year's London Marathon. Here is a round-up of the local runners who did themselves proud.
James Mitchell, from Woolton Hill, completed the marathon in four hours 54 minutes. In doing so he has raised more than £6,700 for Mencap.
He said it was an "amazing day", and that the support in London was "phenomenal".
His motivation for supporting Mencap is his brother Rupert, who has Downs Syndrome.
Andrew Mitchell, known as Mitch, has raised £3,500 for New Life Special Care Babies after running the marathon on Sunday.
Mr Mitchell, who lives in Hermitage, completed the marathon in 4 hours, 18 minutes and 19 seconds.
Donations for his challenge have come in from all over the world, including Australia, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, USA, Netherlands and Norway.
Mr Mitchell said: “I have played in the charity golf days for many years but decided to push myself and run the prestigious London Marathon.
"I love supporting this fantastic charity and the pain was worth it for the wonderful donations it generated.”
The charity, which is now in its 27th year, raises funds to buy specialist life-saving neo-natal equipment for hospitals such as Swindon, Reading, Basingstoke and Oxford.
Charity CEO Trevor Goodall added: "We are now focusing on bringing a well known figure on board as Ambassador to help us take the charity to the next level and to reach the next £1m.”
Charlie Hide, who is currently studying towards the Higher National Diploma in graphic design at the University Centre Newbury, completed the course in five hours 50 minutes.
Victoria Burden, from UCN said: "We are all incredibly proud of his amazing achievement. Charlie has been waiting a long time to run the marathon and it has been stop and start for him, so to finally achieve this accomplishment is amazing."
Compton's Luke McEnhill completed the distance at the age of just 18; running in memory of his uncle Jonathan Edwards, who died of Motor Neurone Disease in 2019 at the age of 47.
Luke finished in six hours eight minutes despite "a struggle mid-way through".
So far he has raised £1,720 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
This was Nicola Meadows' first marathon and she ran the 26.2miles to raise money for the Brain and Spine Foundations, after suffering from the rare condition Cauda Equina Syndrome.
Nicola, who lives in Woolton Hill, said: "The Brain and Spine Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life of people affected by neurological problems by providing expert information, support, and education. In 2018 I suffered from Cauda Equina Syndrome and I am remarkably lucky to be able to choose to run the London Marathon."
So far she has raised more than £1,700.
The Chaffer family took part in the London Marathon Challenge to raise money for Newbury Soup Kitchen.
Kelvin Chaffer, who has run the London Marathon twice before, took part in this year's virtual event as part of a larger team with his company Lifecycle Software.
His son Dexter, aged five, also ran just over a mile non-stop in the pouring rain to boost his dad's fundraising, while seven-year-old son Zac cycled just over 10 miles in support of the cause.
Steve Fothergill took part in Sunday's marathon - 27 years after he last ran it.
The 68-year-old from East End was running to raise funds for Alzheimer's Society.
He has so far raised more than £1,300 and was cheered round the course by his wife Yolande, daughters Odette and Hannah, and son-in-law Iain.
Georgina Lofthouse has been running for three years and said it was a goal to "run in the most iconic of races".
She took part in this year's marathon to raise money for her good friend Vickie, who is suffering from incurable and life-threatening complications of sepsis.
She said: "The race itself was a fantastic experience. I loved running past landmark buildings and soaking up the amazing atmosphere.
"Whatever, the marathon at over twenty six miles it is still a long way and I found it tough in the final stages. As I approached the finish line I said to myself ‘never again’, but afterwards with the medal round my neck I thought ‘well maybe’."
She has so far raised more than £1,700.
Sarah Everden and her friend Alice ran this year's London Marathon in aid charity Mencap.
She completed the 26.2 miles in three hours and 56 minutes and said "it was a great event, although my legs are feeling it now".
She added: "Mencap give amazing support to individuals and their families. Any donations for this great cause are much appreciated."
Mike Ellis, from Hungerford, took part in the London Marathon for Calm (cancer and leukaemia movement) - a children's charity based in Swindon.
He finished the marathon is five hours four minutes and has raised £1,300 so far for the charity.
Gary Shaughnessy, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease seven years ago, took part in the marathon as part of a host of fundraising events he is completing this year.
He was joined in his marathon effort by his family - wife Janet, Michael, Daniel and Beth.
Mr Sheridan was one of five Newbury AC members who completed the London Marathon over the weekend.
Mark Flitton lead the club members home with a huge PB of 2:43:01, while there were also good runs from Mike Wheeler (3:16:30), Jenny Eaton (3:38:43) and Sue Van Huyssteen (4:03:20).