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Running for their loved ones - thousands prepare to embark on London Marathon to boost charity coffers

PUBLISHED: 07:32 23 April 2017 | UPDATED: 07:32 23 April 2017

Lucy Pheonix training for the London Marathon. Picture: Leonard Cheshire Disability

Lucy Pheonix training for the London Marathon. Picture: Leonard Cheshire Disability

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Months of training is about to pay off for runners from around the region preparing to haul themselves over the finish line at the London Marathon this morning.

David Thornhill is running the London Marathon for the first time. Picture: David Thornhill David Thornhill is running the London Marathon for the first time. Picture: David Thornhill

Dozens of teams, single runners and groups of friends have already brought thousands of pounds in for noble causes, ranging from cancer research to education provision or end of life care.

Each number carries a very personal story, as this selection of entrants from Norfolk show:

-David Thornhill, 41, from Sprowston is a first time London marathon runner in aid of Children with Cancer. In 2013 a friend’s daughter Freya Keenan was diagnosed with kidney cancer, but made it to be flower girl at his wedding.

“If I have any tough times on Sunday, I’ll just think of Freya and other children who have suffered or are suffering with cancer have had tougher times,” he said.

-Lucy Phoenix, 30, is attempting her first ever marathon to honour the legacy of her grandma, Audrey Holland, was awarded the League of Mercy medal by Her Majesty at age 90 for her service to The Grove care home in Norwich, where she volunteered for 52 years.

“I grew up in Norfolk and used to visit The Grove regularly with her and speak with the residents,” she said. “I have seen first-hand the difference the charity makes to the residents’ lives and I would like to try and make a contribution myself.

-Dickon Best, 42, from Holt, is running for EACH after he became a widower in 2015 when his wife Gemma sadly died, aged 37.

He said: “Just after the marathon it will be two years since Gemma died. There is no way of doing justice to her memory but running the marathon has given me a focus and plenty of time to think about her. Supporting an East Anglian charity whose focus is on supporting children would have been something she would have approved of.”

The 26.2 mile race runs from Blackheath past many of London’s iconic landmarks and finishes on the Mall. A record 253,930 people entered the public ballot last May with only 50,000 successful in their applications.

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