We did it!

PUBLISHED: 18:44 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:44 11 May 2010

ALL WINNERS: The Royston Runners with their medals

ALL WINNERS: The Royston Runners with their medals

More than 34,000 people finished the 2008 Flora London Marathon, and among them were 16 of the Royston Runners and a host of other fund-raisers from the Crow area. Christine Brown, 45, of Hillside Royston completed the marathon in 5 hours 55 minutes, and

TONY TILLBROOKE

More than 34,000 people finished the 2008 Flora London Marathon, and among them were 16 of the Royston Runners and a host of other fund-raisers from the Crow area.

Christine Brown, 45, of Hillside Royston completed the marathon in 5 hours 55 minutes, and has so far raised more than £1,500 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Christine, who has been a member of Royston Runners for five years, said: "The first 13 miles I really enjoyed, but miles 13-19 were really hard.

"I beat Mr Tickle over the finish line though - I put on a spurt in the last 400 yards so I could beat him."

And, it was the crowds and her jelly babies that pushed Christine to the finish line.

"The atmosphere was brilliant - the crowds certainly kept you going.

"The jelly babies helped as well - I probably munched my way through a dozen on the course."

And Christine plans to tread those 26 miles again in the future.

"I'm going to have a year off and do a bit of speed work.

"I hope to do another marathon the year afterwards."

Barkway grandfather John Witchell, who was also raising money for the charity, says the support from the Marie Curie team helped him push to the very end.

Mr Witchell completed the marathon in 4 hours 56 minutes.

He said: "There was a brilliant atmosphere.

"The Marie Curie cheering stations were wonderful, and the people along the route were great.

"There was music playing, people ringing bells, and playing bagpipes and drums.

"It was lovely."

Even though John completed the 26 miles in less than five hours, he still thinks he could have done it faster.

"I started getting muscle cramps at 18 miles, which got progressively worse," he said.

"Looking back, I didn't do enough training.

"I was a bit miffed that I got overtaken by a gorilla at the end."

John has raised £1,732 so far, but is hoping to reach his target of £2,000.

"My daughter is thinking of running the marathon, and if she decides to do it, I might have another go."

Another Royston Runner, Anna Ward, 26, completed the challenge in four hours 59 minutes.

Anna, who was running her first marathon, said: "I was hoping to complete it in four-and-a-half hours, but it was so busy.

"I am really pleased though. I'm just glad I got round."

Anna, who raised money for the Blue Cross, did not have long to train for the event.

She said: "I found out that I had got a place in December, and suddenly thought - I need to join the Royston Runners!

"The atmosphere was amazing.

"I said I wouldn't do another marathon, but I probably will."

Tony Tillbrooke, of Fowlmere, clocked up his 28th consecutive marathon, completing the course in a time of just over 4 hours 30 minutes, despite the weather conditions.

He said: "That's the first time I've ever seen hail during a marathon. The conditions were incredible. It felt like we were running through water at one point.

"I was hoping to do about 4 hours 15 minutes, but because of the weather I'm quite happy with my time, and it was an excellent day. I ran alongside a few characters."

Mr Tillbrooke is already looking to next year, and has his eyes on a significant milestone.

He said: "If I do the next couple I'll have done 30 marathons in a row, and I'll be 70.

"So once I've got that far I'll take stock of my options again."

While Mr Tillbrooke is a London Marathon veteran, Darren Harward was taking part for the first time.

Despite being hampered by a foot injury, he managed to finish the race within six hours.

Describing the event as an "unbelievable experience", Mr Harward, of Masefield Way, Royston, said: "The crowd were amazing. They got me through the last couple of miles.

"I had my name written on my shirt, and throughout the course I could hear so many people shouting my name and offering encouragement."

Mr Harward, who ran the race with his brother Mark, hopes to have raised about £1,600 for Western Centre at Addenbrooke's Hospital, which offers care and support for children with cancer and diabetes.

He said: "My friends and family have been brilliant and I'm really grateful to everyone who has supported me.

"I said straight after the race I'm never doing it again, but having had a couple of days to think about it I would like to try again without the injury holding me back.

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