'Elvis' and a man in an exo-skeleton among those entering London Marathon from Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 19:03 18 April 2018 | UPDATED: 19:03 18 April 2018
Copyright: Archant 2018
Of all those taking part in this year's London Marathon, Simon Kindleysides has arguably one of the toughest challenges ahead of him.
The 33-year-old, from Blofield, is aiming to become the first paralysed man to walk the 26.2-mile course this weekend.
And to do so, he will spend around 35 hours strapped into a robotic exoskeleton suit.
The father-of-three was diagnosed with functional neurological disorder and a glioma brain tumour in 2013, leaving him unable to walk.
But Mr Kindleysides has been determined not to let his paralysis hold him back.
He said: “We’ve been in lots of risk assessments and health and safety meetings with the marathon organisers because of all the rules and regulations.
“They were concerned that the suit would be doing all the work for me but it doesn’t.
Mr Kindleysides’ Rewalk exoskeleton suit is powered by a backpack battery and controlled by a remote on the wearer’s wrist.
While the equipment detects and enhances movement, it is still the user who is having to walk.
Mr Kindleysides, who has been training with the £65,000 suit for several weeks, can walk a mile in around 52 minutes.
“I can’t explain how it makes me feel,” he said. “It’s going to be very hard after the marathon to hand it back.”
Mr Kindleysides is aiming to complete the challenge across Sunday, April 22 and Monday, April 23, walking 13.5 miles each day.
He has raised more than £4,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity, but is aiming to reach £10,000.
On his online fundraising page, he said: “I want to be a huge role model, not just to my children, but to others out there who are disabled and don’t get enough credit.
“I want to show them that whatever happens in your life, and whatever people tell you, there is no such word as can’t.”
The marathon challenge will not be the first time Mr Kindleysides has pushed his body to the limits.
In 2015 he hand cycled from London to Paris, raising more than £5,000 for charity. Earlier this year he was also chosen to be a judge on BBC One’s Saturday night singing contest All Together Now.
To sponsor him visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/simonsmarathon2018
World record attempt
It is a case of now or never for Stacey Harper, who is aiming to become the fastest woman to run a marathon dressed as Elvis Presley.
The 40-year-old, from Old Catton, is raising money to help pay for life-saving treatment for her seven-year-old nephew, Harry Addy.
Harry, from Rivermead, Stalham, has a spinal cord tumour and rare brain disease, and needs proton therapy overseas after being turned down by the NHS.
Ms Harper will run her eleventh marathon, and fourth London marathon, this year dressed as the Graceland singer to help pay for the £70,000 trip.
After searching for world records, she discovered one has not yet been set for the fastest woman to run a marathon dressed as Elvis.
If she removes the wig or glasses at any stage of the race she will lose the record. Blue suede shoes are optional.
To donate visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/protons-for-harry
Flamingo costume a poignant reminder of late son
While David Taylor’s flamingo costume will be a fun addition to the race this year, it will also be a poignant reminder of his late son.
Mr Taylor and his wife Mary, from Mulbarton, were told that their unborn child was suffering from a rare condition leaving him with half a heart.
They decided to undergo surgery in an attempt to save him, and baby Jude was born on April 2, 2014 by caesarean section.
He was taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Flamingo Ward for open heart surgery, aged just five days old.
Following the operation he died in his mother’s arms on April 28.
Mr Taylor, 39, said the family was supported by the East Anglia’s Children Hospice (EACH) following the death.
He is running the marathon is support of the charity.
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/David-Taylor156 to donate.
10th and last marathon for Norwich City fan
Martin Andrews will be running his 10th - and last - London marathon this year dressed in a full Norwich City kit.
The 48-year-old ,from Caister-on-Sea, is taking part in the race with his colleague Richard Philpott, who is running his second marathon.
The pair, who both work at Perenco Oil and Gas, are raising money for Nelson’s Journey and Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind.
Visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/MartinandRichVMLM2018 to sponsor.
Meanwhile, a north Norfolk optician will be swapping spectacles for a sports kit in aid of a disability charity.
Roger Lee, who runs Roger Lee Optometrists in Station Road, Sheringham, is raising cash for Leonard Cheshire Disability - the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of care services for the disabled.
To support Mr Lee, visit www.justgiving.com/roger-lee3
Raising money in memory of dad
Twenty-year-old Lucy Ring, from Old Catton, is taking part in memory of her late father Mark, who died in November 2016.
Miss Ring said her 49-year-old dad - a keen runner who completed 11 marathons - suffered a cardiac arrest after taking part in a race.
He died from dilated cardiomyopathy - a condition which decreases the heart’s ability to pump blood.
Miss Ring will be raising money for Cardiomyopathy UK. To sponsor her, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lucy-ring1
Meanwhile, Jo Silver, 50, from Wicklewood, said she wanted to enter the marathon to challenge herself on a landmark birthday. She will be raising money for the rare chromosome disorder support charity, Unique.
“I am really excited about the big day, everyone says the atmosphere and the crowd is amazing,” she said.
To sponsor, search Jo Silver at www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/
Visually impaired triathlete
Visually impaired triathlete Iain Dawson is running the marathon to raise money for the national disability charity Sense.
The 41-year-old, from New Buckenham, suffers from a genetic eye condition called X-Linked Juvenile Retinoschisis.
He is aiming to raise £1,500 for Sense and is hoping to complete the course in under four hours.
Visit www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/IainDawson to sponsor him.
Also taking part on Sunday is Rachel Hirst, who lives near Loddon.
It will be the 53-year-old’s second marathon, after she entered the Edinburgh Marathon in May 2017.
The Bungay Black Dog Running Club member is raising money for the Norfolk and Norwich Association for The Blind, which her husband Tim is a trustee of.
To sponsor her, visit www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=Rachelhirst1&pageUrl=1