They’ve been training hard for months, but the long wait will be over on Sunday.
The London Marathon takes place this weekend and several people from the Banbury Guardian area will be lacing up their running shoes and taking part.
A blind veteran from Brackley will be running for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired former service men and women. Steve Parnell, 47 decided he wanted to give back to Blind Veterans UK for its support.
He joined the Royal Air Force in 1986 and served until 1991, including time as a steward in the Officer’s Mess at RAF Brize Norton. While with the RAF he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that slowly causes blindness.
He said: “It was quite a shock when they told me because at the time there didn’t seem to be anything wrong; I could still see and drive.”
In 2006 Mr Parnell, who is taking on the London Marathon with his guide and good friend David Babbister, started to receive support from Blind Veterans UK after a local eye clinic made him aware of the charity.
He added: “I immensely appreciate the support from Blind Veterans UK. They’ve given me computer training and gadgets I need for work but couldn’t afford myself.”
A friend’s brush with testicular cancer has inspired Ben McCallum to run in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Mr McCallum, from Banbury, was living in Australia at the beginning of 2014 when his friend found he had two lumps on one of his testicles following an ultrasound at a hospital in Queensland. It was suggested he have a precautionary ultrasound on his return to the UK.
A follow-up ultrasound on return to the UK revealed a further lump and the testicle was removed. Fortunately a CT scan showed the cancer had not spread, but Mr McCallum said: “Whilst his fight against cancer in the end was thankfully somewhat brief, that’s not the case for others.
“Macmillan Cancer Support helps support people and families affected by cancer everyday.” To sponsor Mr McCallum, visit www.justgiving.com/benmccallum/
Former Banbury United player and manager Kieran Sullivan will be raising money for Asthma UK. Mr Sullivan took up running about 18 months ago, inspired by his daughter’s decision to sign him up for the Reading Half-Marathon last year.
He said: “I have since caught the running bug. Having always had an ambition to run in London – it looks easy enough on TV – I managed to secure a place in this year’s race, running on behalf of Asthma UK. As an asthma sufferer, and using an inhaler throughout my footballing career, it is great to be able to try to raise as much money as possible for this charity.”
To support Mr Sullivan, visit www.justgiving.com/Kieran-Sullivan4.
Alexy Dury, who was diagnosed deaf as a baby, will be running for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).
Three years ago, Miss Dury started running 1km around Oxford University Park during her lunch, then progressed to running with Adderbury Running Club. Since then, she has taken part in several races including the Oxford Half-marathon last year.
She said: “Steadily I am challenging myself, adding a mile at a time to my running schedule. I have great faith in myself that I will be fit as a fiddle and ready to take on the London Marathon. NDCS supported my parents when I was diagnosed deaf as a baby. Its services are really important to all parents who have deaf babies and children.”
To sponsor Miss Dury, visit www.justgiving.com/Alexandra-Dury/.
Postman Calvin Findlay, 32, of Warwick Road, will run the marathon in a Morph suit in aid of the Stroke Association after his uncle, Malcolm, had a stroke a few years ago before making a full recovery. To sponsor Mr Findlay, visit www.sponsorme.co.uk/calvinfindlay/postiecalv.
First-time marathon runner Katie Hedges, 24, is supporting the Horton Hospital.
The Grimsbury resident is an operating department practitioner at the hospital and the money she raises will go towards new equipment and the hospital’s theatre department. Visit Miss Hedges’ fundraising page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/katiehedges.