This Sunday the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon will take place celebrating the unique spirit of what is considered the world’s greatest marathon. The marathon shines a light on the unique stories of its runners, champions, volunteers and supporters through its Spirit of London campaign.
Last year people from all over the world witnessed Swansea Harrier Matthew Rees helping David Wyeth down The Mall to the Finish Line and it was that moment that inspired the 2018 London Marathon theme “Spirit of London”. Matthew and David were selected as the first two recipients of the new Spirit of London award. The third award was announced shortly after and was given to former boxer Michael Watson who despite suffering server brain injuries in a world title fight completed the 2003 London Marathon.
On Saturday 14 April London Marathon Events announced ten more recipients of the Spirit of London Awards. The winners are (in alphabetical order):
Rhian was part of the Mind Over Marathon team who completed the 2017 London Marathon for Heads Together to raise awareness of mental health. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following a double tragedy in 2012 when her one-year-old son George died from pneumonia and then her husband, overwhelmed by grief, committed suicide a few days later. It left Rhian as a single mother to her two other children. She has set up the charity 2 Wish Upon a Star to help other bereaved families.
Rev Steve Chalke
The record for most money raised for charity by an individual at the London Marathon – indeed at any marathon worldwide – is held by Reverend Steve Chalke MBE. The Londoner raised an incredible £2,330,159.38 when he completed the 2011 race. Rev Chalke is the leader of the Oasis Charitable Trust and is a prominent social activist.
Charlie Dark for Run Dem Crew
DJ and poet Charlie formed Run Dem Crew (RDC) in London in 2007 as an alternative to more traditional running clubs. RDC is committed to change and works closely with young people across London providing mentoring and advice along with the opportunity to explore London in a safe, unique, positive and supportive environment.
Ran the 400m at the 2012 London Olympics for Somalia to show her country that women could compete in sport. This was not received well in her home country and she had to flee to the UK to seek asylum. She completed the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon
The first person in London Marathon history to complete the route walking in a bionic suit. Claire was paralysed after an accident riding a horse in 2007 and walked the London Marathon route in 2012, taking 16 days to cover the 26.2 miles.
In 1995, Chris was seriously injured in Africa clearing landmines for a charity and lost his lower arm and leg. Less than a year after leaving hospital he completed the London Marathon. He has since gone on to run 14 London Marathons, raising thousands of pounds for charity.
Fauja is the oldest person to have ever finished the London Marathon. He was 93 years old when he completed the 2004 race. Now aged 107, Fauja was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to sport and charity.
On 7 July 2005, Jill was on the same carriage as a suicide bomber who blew up an underground train travelling between King’s Cross and Russell Square. Twenty-six people died on that train and a total of 52 people died on the same day of co-ordinated terror attacks on London which became known as 7/7. Jill spent two-and-a-half months in hospital following the attack but recovered well enough to take part in the 2006 London Marathon.
After surviving the Rwandan genocide as a child, Claude came to London with his mother. Years later, after finding himself homeless on the streets of the capital, he was introduced to running by The Running Charity. This helped transform his life and in 2015 he ran the London Marathon for the charity.
71-year-old Roy has volunteered at every London Marathon since the very first event in 1981 through his involvement with the 23rdCamberwell Scouts.
Up to 26 people will be presented with the special commemorative coin at an awards ceremony in May. The coin shows Dick Beardsley (USA) and Inge Simonsen (NOR), the joint winners of the first London Marathon who crossed the finish line hand in hand. The coin is engraved with one of the London Marathon’s founding pillars, created by Chris Brasher and John Disley: To have fun and provide some happiness and a sense of achievement in a troubled world. The reverse of the coin shows the trophy awarded to Dorando Pietri after the 1908 Olympic Marathon.