In the running to help good causes

PUBLISHED: 11:43 01 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:39 09 July 2010

Marathon runner shows off his medal

Marathon runner shows off his medal

CONGRATULATIONS and applause went to the tired runners – and a rower – when they finished the Flora London Marathon on Sunday. Runners from Havering completed the 26.2-mile course in the name of a wide variety of good causes. Forty-eight youngsters from

CONGRATULATIONS and applause went to the tired runners - and a rower - when they finished the Flora London Marathon on Sunday.

Runners from Havering completed the 26.2-mile course in the name of a wide variety of good causes.

Forty-eight youngsters from the borough, aged 11 to 17, took part in the three-mile mini marathon.

The best of the bunch was Freddy Keefe, 12, who finished first in his age category (11 to 12) for all 33 London boroughs, beating more than 200 other young runners.

The pupil from Coopers' Company and Coborn School in Upminster made it to the finish line in 16 minutes, 37 seconds - just two seconds behind the winner for his age in the whole of the UK.

His father, Mike, 56, said: "We knew he'd be in the first two or three because of his training. It was a great feeling watching him come round the finish. He's a good little runner and works so hard."

Freddy, who has been running for Havering Mayesbrook athletic club for just a year, has "taken it by storm" after already winning three gold medals in UK running events and achieving the best time in the country for the 1,500 metres at his age.

Among the adult runners was team statistician for Romford Raiders ice hockey team, Dave Leach, 57, who raised £1,800 for Cancer Research UK.

Dave, of Hayburn Way, Roneo Corner, finished in five hours, 21 minutes. He had "a few blisters and aches" but got to meet celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey at the end.

Dave said: "It was hard going having started too quickly and suffering after hitting the wall between 17 and 20 miles, but the fantastic support of the crowd helped me to get to the finish in one piece."

Chris Harris, 31, has raised more than £4,500 for premature baby charity Bliss as a tribute to his niece Maisie, now aged four, who was born three-and-a-half months early.

Before setting off Chris was interviewed by ex-athlete Jonathan Edwards for the BBC for Bliss' 30th anniversary.

Chris' twin sister Clare Coe (Maisie's mum), of Essex Gardens, Hornchurch, said: "He did really well. The heat was absolutely excruciating. He lost a stone in one day!"


Chris said: "It was a great achievement but I won't be doing it again."

Teacher Ray Lawrence completed the marathon with a difference - by rowing 26 miles at Abbs Cross Gym in Hornchurch because a hip injury prevented him running.

Ray, 39, who finished in two hours, 49 minutes, said: "I didn't push myself too hard until the end. I've never done anything like this before but I really enjoyed it."

Crowlands School teacher Neil Trusler, 48, of Fairfield Avenue, Upminster, finished in five hours, 30 minutes and collected more than £2,500 for Great Ormond Street Hospital, where his son Sam, now 16, had surgery on his brain after a fall on holiday.

Neil said: "It was a great day and I've already applied for a place next year.

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