The Northampton faces of this year's London Marathon race

We take a look at some of the Northampton entrants hoping to take on the London Marathon this month and raise much-needed charity cash.

Thursday, 12th April 2018, 4:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th April 2018, 4:11 pm
Rhys Jones

Pub supervisor running to help deaf children in schools

Pub supervisor of the Charles Bradlaugh, Rhys Jones, 28, has lived in Northampton for 10 years, studied acting at the University of Northampton before graduating in 2010 and becoming an actor. He now tours the country in performances mostly for children.

He entered the ballot for the marathon and was unsuccessful so he decided to register his interest in running for the National Deaf Children’s Society.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Charlee Neaves with mum, Suzanne Spence.

He said: “Recently I’ve toured with a partially deaf woman, who runs a YouTube channel encouraging people to learn sign language, and I picked up quite a lot from her.

“I then looked further into the huge issue that deaf children have within schooling, with thousands of those children not having sign language interpreters for them in schools, largely leaving them behind in school due to a lack of comprehension.

“I’ve raised over 75 per cent of my target. I had a full body wax - including my eyebrows for the effort, and held a fundraising night at the Charles Bradlaugh - where I am a supervisor.”

He aims to finish the marathon in under five hours.

Shaun Marriott

You can donate to Rhys, who has already raised more than £1,000, here:’ Laura taking part in two marathons just one week apart

Laura Robinson is running both the Brighton and London marathon this year, which are just one week apart. “Yes, I am mad and full of self-doubt but driven with determination,” she said.

She is running for the British Lung Foundation in memory of Eddie, the man she describes as her second dad who passed away in September 2016.

She said: “When the London marathon was on in April 2017, I had a strange feeling.

Laura Robinson

“It didn’t feel right that the year before I was running 26.2 miles, yet this year Jamie (my fiancé) and I laid in bed a little hungover. My spontaneous side took over and I booked the Brighton marathon for April 2018.

“Once the London marathon slots for 2018 opened I realised I could enter under the ‘good for age category’, so I did. Oops - at this point, I didn’t realise the two marathons were just one week apart.”

Laura, who works at Church & Co, says she does not rely on just her sponsorship but is also organising quiz nights with donations from restaurants and the factory shop where she works.

Running in memory of mum

Rev Nik Stevenson

Another inspirational runner is Northampton born-and-bred Charlee Neaves, 32, who is running in memory of her mum.

Charlee’s mum, Suzanne Spence, had a 20cm kidney tumour removed in December 2016.

She said: “I was struggling to cope - so she bet me if I did the London marathon she would try to stick around to watch me do it.

“At the time I couldn’t even run for one minute on a treadmill but my god if ever there’s a reason to run she give me it.”

Unfortunately Suzanne, 53, died in February this year but she put up a strong fight after being told in September that she would not see October.

“All everyone has said to me is how proud she was of my training and what I’m achieving. I have lost three stone in the process too.

Filomena Fontana

Mum of three Charlee, of Kingsthorpe, works as a mortgage consultant at Nationwide and is running for Macmillian Cancer Support.

Gruelling challenge on behalf of step dad

Highways worker for Bedford Borough Council, Shaun Marriott, 27, of Grange Park lives with his wife and two sons.

He is taking on the 26-mile gruelling marathon track for MS-UK on behalf of his step dad Paul who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2014.

He said: “Paul is a kind generous person and I have watched him show amazing strength when the harsh symptoms of MS flare up. Paul’s strength is remarkable and he continues to be supportive to all his family as well as being fantastic step grandfather to both my sons.”

Shaun is also running for Jenny – wife of his pal David – who was also was diagnosed with MS.

He added: “Jenny visits an amazing support centre run by an MS charity who make sure each sufferer has choices, control, independence.

“These centres couldn’t continue without kind donations from people like you and me and I ask you from my heart to please make a donation to help raise money to keep these centres going, to help make a difference to someone who has had their life changed dramatically, as well as their families who also need the support from these amazing volunteers.”Donate here: the vic revs up his training in all weathers

The assistant curate at St Mary the Virgin Church in Far Cotton has been training in all weathers ahead of the big day.

The Rev Nik Stevenson said; “I am running the London Marathon for Movember, having lost 6st after attending their Move Like A Pro course at Northampton Saints.

Men’s health is really important and losing weight and getting fitter has really changed my life.

The fact that Movember also find research into men’s cancer is also particularly poignant as I lost my dad to cancer just a few weeks ago.”

Donations can be made at 'Knowing I’m running for them will help to get me around and together we will fight cancer and save lives'.

To celebrate turning 50, Filomena Fontana has decided to do 50 things, which she has never done before, including running the London Marathon while raising money for charity.

Filomena, who has raised £1,500 for charity so far, said: "As many of us have, I’ve loved and lost people to cancer so I’m running for CancerResearchUK in the hope that the money raised may help someone win their battle through the vital research into finding cures and treatment for cancer that this charity does."

When it was first announced that Filomena would run the 26-mile course, she was contacted by a friend’s daughter, Lauren Hughes, who had been diagnosed with Leukaemia and has sadly lost her battle.

She said: "Lauren was a kind and beautiful girl and well known locally.

"Recently and tragically, Lauren lost her battle and I am proud to run in her memory. At the time I write this I have another friend who is currently going through chemotherapy too...

She adds: "If anyone would like me to run a mile of the Marathon in memory of their loved one, please make a donation to my page and in the message box tell me which mile and who.

"Knowing I’m running for them will help to get me around and together we will fight cancer and save lives."'I used to be confident, chilled out guy but now struggle to keep my train of thought': Meningitis survivor to take on 26 miles to pay thanks to support workers

Keen runner, Robin Swannell was hospitalised in November 2016 following the sudden onset of severe headaches, vomiting, fever and confusion. Initially, doctors weren't able to identify his illness but after a week of treatment, he was diagnosed with viral meningitis.

After two and a half weeks in hospital he was discharged to home care but could not walk without a frame or help, and stairs, he said, were impossible.

He said: "As I’m usually a fit builder who’s always on the go, I struggled to lift a glass of water, I couldn’t hold a conversation and I’d lost nearly three stone.

"It has taken the last year to build my strength back up, get back to work and am starting to feel a bit more like my old self. Most of the physical effects have slowly reduced and we're now dealing with the long-term effects; my short-term memory has been quite badly affected and need regular reminders of what to do or where I need to be and need to rely on support of my family even remembering what I am talking about during a conversation."

"I also find life quite overwhelming at times, I used to be confident, chilled out guy but now struggle to keep my train of thought when things get on top of me and can't put it into words. These are now likely to be permanent long-term effects that I am learning to live with but feel very lucky considering what life could be like."

Now Robin wanted to do something to celebrate how far he has come and is looking forward to taking on the gruelling 26.2 miles around the big smoke.

He is raising money for Meningitis Now who support patients and their families as they all need as well funding vital research for vaccines and treatment. Donate here: Other runners from this county include:

Name: Sharon Morrow

Charity: Charity Niamh's Next Step.

Donation page: Name: Aaron Knight

Charity: British Heart Foundation

Charity: Northampton Town Multi-Disabled Football Club

Donation page: Emma Gallagher

Charity: Meningitis Research UK

Charity: Willow Foundation

Robin Swannell
Charlee Neaves with mum, Suzanne Spence.
Shaun Marriott
Laura Robinson
Rev Nik Stevenson
Filomena Fontana
Robin Swannell