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#The40thRace: local heroes fundraising for causes close to home

Meet the runners making a difference to their local communities at this year’s virtual Virgin Money London Marathon.

The Virgin Money London Marathon is coming to a street near you. In the face of a global pandemic, the race is looking a little different this year. Rather than running the capital, 45,000 participants will be bringing the spirit of the marathon to their local communities and this weekend will have 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds to run, jog or walk 26.2 miles wherever they like.

Organisers have dubbed the event “the most inclusive London Marathon ever”. And for local charities, it could also be the most important. For each of the last 13 years the VMLM has set a new world record for an annual single-day charity fundraising event, with much of that money going to community charities. According to a recent report by the Institute of Fundraising, 77% of small charities say that Covid-19 has negatively affected their finances. Meanwhile, the pandemic has increased demand for charities’ services. So each fundraising run really is vital – our communities will be made healthier and stronger by the money raised by these local heroes.

We’d like you to meet some of the runners making a difference on their doorstep, and to tell you how you can help them raise vital funds.

Kim: Running Woking for LinkAble

Kim Owens is the only runner taking on the marathon in aid of LinkAble, a Woking charity supporting adults and children with disabilities. Kim, whose nine-year-old son Willem has autism, will actually run three marathons for the charity: she completed a garden marathon in April, is tackling this October’s marathon and plans to hit the capital for the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2021. "It's been an amazing year," says Kim. "Not many people get the chance to run three marathons!"

Kobi and Marc: Running the Dulais Valley for Rhianna’s Swing

Kobi Barrow and his father, Marc, are going to be completing the distance over a day of walks in South Wales’ Dulais Valley. "I hope to raise enough money for a picnic table with wheelchair access," says Kobi. The table will be installed at Rhianna's Swing, an inclusive park where abled and disabled children can play together. Kobi helped to create the charity in memory of his friend in 2018, winning him a 'Young Fundraiser of the Year Award' at age 10.

Alison: Running London for Friends of Blanche Nevile

The appropriately named Alison Miles is taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon on the streets of the British capital for Friends of Blanche Nevile. Blanche Nevile is a school for the deaf, which is attended by two of Alison's children. Having seen funding for the school cut in recent years, Alison set up the charity and signed up for the marathon to help. "I am running because I have to do something," she says. "And I can do this."

Meet our heroes: Local runners supporting small charities

Click or tap on the images below to find out more about their fundraising

Gareth Hopkins
Marc Barrow
Kimmy Owens
Anna and Rob Giles
Alison Miles
Darren Evans
Andrew Fountain
Grant Seaton
Lucas Meagor
Luke Weller
Jodie Crane
Debbie Foreman
Dave Kay
Louise Simpson
Adele Hamilton
Liz Elmer
Kirstie James
Bob Deacon
Tracy Curle
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