They beat the heat

IN one of the most gruelling London Marathons, runners from in and around Royston pounded the streets, braving the heat. It was one of the hottest days in the event s 27-year history and one runner, Polly Scott of Bassingbourn, described the weather as u

IN one of the most gruelling London Marathons, runners from in and around Royston pounded the streets, braving the heat.

It was one of the hottest days in the event's 27-year history and one runner, Polly Scott of Bassingbourn, described the weather as "unbearable".

Polly, who completed the race in 4 hours 3 minutes, added: "The conditions were certainly not the best for running."

The beauty therapist teacher, who was running for the charity LAM, which supports women with a rare lung disease, added: "I've managed to raise more than £1,000, so I'm very happy.


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"It was certainly worth all the hard work. Overall, it was a fantastic experience."

Twenty-year-old Karl Howard of Royston said he had made his family proud after completing the 26.2 mile course in 4:25.

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Karl, who suffers from dyspraxia, took part in the event to raise funds for Woolgrove School which teaches youngsters with moderate learning difficulties.

He said: "The school gave me confidence and pushed me to my limits.

"This was a chance to give something back. I'm already missing the training - hopefully this will be the first of many."

Extra medical staff were also drafted in, with doctors, St John's Ambulance members, physios and podiatrists at hand to take care of the runners.

More than 5,000 were treated by medical staff, while 617 of the 36,391 starters had to quit - the highest dropout rate in years.

Royston podiatrist Graham Read said: "They were dropping like flies. It wasn't a pretty sight at the end and quite a few were in a dreadful state.

"We had a lot of blisters and spent quite a while patching them up."

Bridget Gough of Barley, finished the course in 5:25 in her sixth London Marathon.

The 51-year-old ran for Barley-based charity Khandel-light, which aids poverty stricken villagers in north west India.

The marathon veteran raised £1,600, and has now taken her fundraising total to almost £10,000.

The Meridian School deputy head teacher David Atkins raised £2,000 for his chosen charity, St Elizabeth's Centre in Much Hadham, which helps people with epilepsy, and completed the race in a time of 4:05.

David, who started off alongside Darth Vader and Spongebob Squarepants, described the event as a "wonderful and memorable experience".

He added: "It was an exhilarating and emotional race, and a memory to treasure. The crowd was terrific and the event seems to bring out the best in everyone."

Wimpole farm manager David Watson described his involvement as "emotionally exhilarating and physically exhausting".

The 41-year-old was raising money for DebRA - a charity which is close to his heart.

David's two-year-old daughter Rebecca, who was in the crowd, was born with a rare skin condition that causes the skin and body linings to blister.

He said: "DebRA has helped Rebecca and our family in a lot of ways. Taking part gave me the opportunity to give something back."

David raised £4,615 and finished in an impressive 3:59.

He added: "The money will enable the charity to provide support and help fund research into finding a cure. And that's really what it's all about.

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