A mum with an autistic daughter, a magistrate whose brother was killed in a violent attack, and a vet are among dozens of Doncaster runners taking part in tomorrow’s London Marathon.
Nearly 40,000 people will pound the capital’s streets - and among them will be town trio Paula Fraser, Stephen Walls and Colin Wallace, who will all be running for very different charitable causes alongside Olympic champion Mo Farah, who will be taking part for the very first time.
Another debutante will be Paula who will be tackling the Virgin London Marathon to raise funds for the National Autistic Society.
Paula understands only too well the enormous challenges faced by people living with autism - her daughter Ella, aged seven, has the condition and Paula gave up work three years ago to become her full-time carer.
She said: “It’s been my lifetime ambition to run the marathon and I am delighted to be running for a charity and cause close to my heart. Our daughter Ella has autism, ADHD and learning disabilities and needs a high level of care.
“We knew something was wrong from six months old but it took until she was 18 months old to get anyone to listen and to get a referral to the community paediatrician. She was diagnosed just before her third birthday.”
Meanwhile Stephen Walls, of Branton, a pharmacist for the Weldricks group and a Doncaster magistrate, will be running for Stand Against Violence which works with youngsters to highlight the far reaching consequence of fighting.
He said: “In 2002 I lost my elder brother Richard to a violent assault while he was at a dance night with friends. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The young man charged with Rich’s death had a record of violence and was known to the police.
“Obviously you can’t undo what has been done, and we will never get Richard back, but I hope that by running in his memory and raising SAV’s profile, I can make a difference.”
Colin Wallace, 38, an area veterinary manager for pet charity the PDSA, who oversees seven pet hospitals in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, which provide over 330,000 free treatments to sick and injured pets in need every year, will also be lacing up his trainers.
He has spent the past year training and is hoping local animal lovers will dig deep to help him reach his £2,000 target.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing the sights of London by foot! I’ve never run a marathon before, and I know on the day it’s going to be a struggle.
“But I’m hoping the support of all my friends and family will help me make it to the finish line.”