IT'S that time of year when runners put their stamina and mental strength to the limit and compete in the London Marathon.

We have spoken to south Essex runners and volunteers to find out what has motivated them to get involved in the iconic event this Sunday.

Neil Hubbard

The runner from Leigh, will be running the London Marathon for the second time.

"It's an amazing marathon, the crowd and support is amazing, running for an amazing charity Children with Cancer UK, who gave me a place for a second time," said Neil.

"I first ran the London Marathon in October 2021, I was meant to run it in April 2019 but due to doctors advice I had to pull out a week before, then due to Covid it kept getting delayed.

"Training has been going well, I ran Sevillla Marathon in February and my long runs have gone to plan. I am buzzing for it now, cant wait to start the marathon."

Echo: All set for Sunday's London Marathon - Neil HubbardAll set for Sunday's London Marathon - Neil Hubbard (Image: Neil Hubbard)

Tom Smalley 

The Pitsea RC member is looking forward to competing in the London Marathon after putting in the mileage during training.

"It’s been a great 14 weeks, It is the first time I have done a marathon, having completed multiple half’s," said Tom.

"I have a slightly sore knee since my 20 mile run last week but only minor. 

"It has always been a bucket list item so I am very excited to finally have the chance."

Tom is raising money for DT38 Foundation, set up in memory of West Ham United football player Dylan James who passed away from testicular cancer. 


Echo: In training - Tom SmalleyIn training - Tom Smalley (Image: Tom Smalley)

Cat Googe

When Cat first got into running almost six years ago she couldn't run for more than two minutes without stopping. 

After achieving her goal of running 5k the following year saw her take part in Southend 10k, followed by a half marathon in 2019.

"Once I got to that distance I knew mentally that a marathon was possible, getting my body on board was the challenge! So about 18 months ago I set my sights on running London Marathon by the time I hit 50. I turn 51 in May so mission accomplished!"

"I'm running for Great Ormond Street Hospital who are the lead charity this year. When I got the phone call in November that I'd got a place running for them I literally felt like cartwheeling around my lounge!"

Echo: Training fit - Cat GoogeTraining fit - Cat Googe (Image: Cat Googe)

Lorraine Borley

The Pitsea RC member is from Basildon and was a volunteer tail walker last October  at the London Marathon.

"I did the full course and really enjoyed it, so i decided to enter for myself and luckily I got a ballot place," explained Lorraine.

"I am very excited and my family and friends are coming up to support me. I am raising money for my Pitsea RC friends Anne and Trev in support of their son's charity, Muscular Dystrophy UK."

Echo: All set for the London Marathon - Lorraine BorleyAll set for the London Marathon - Lorraine Borley (Image: Lorraine Borley)


Chris Philcox

Chris from Billericay is set to run the London Marathon on April 23 for Rays of Sunshine.

This charity grants magical wishes, hosts interactive hospital activity days, and provides ongoing support, for seriously ill children across the UK.

Echo: Charity - Chris Philcox, from Billericay, set to run the London Marathon Rays of Sunshine)Charity - Chris Philcox, from Billericay, set to run the London Marathon Rays of Sunshine) (Image: Chris Philcox)

In a bid to raise money Chris even gave people the chance to design a tattoo for him.

Chris has already raised £1,500 but hopes this latest idea will help his reach his £2,300 target.

To donate to his Just Giving visit

Lee Clark

Lee Clark, from Shoebury, is a prolific fundraiser who has been donating cash to charities for years.

He has been gearing up for the London Marathon with some epic walks and runs ahead of the big day. Sunday will mark Lee’s 170th charity event since he began raising money in 2007.

Echo: Fundraiser - Lee ClarkFundraiser - Lee Clark (Image: Lee Clark)

“The training has been going okay, I am not a runner, I am a fundraiser, so I have been doing a lot of speed walking in preparation,” he said. “I did couch to 5k which really helped, and I am hoping the adrenalin on the day and the great atmosphere from the crowds will power me through.”

Lee can often be seen trekking to Chalkwell and back to his home in Shoebury and walking to East Beach. Lee is used to doing an assortment of things to raise money, but says there is something unique about the London Marathon.

“I took part last year and, honestly, I was so surprised at how amazing the atmosphere is. It is something really special.”

George Burgess

George Burgess is one of 100 runners who will be pounding the pavement to raise money for Havens Hospices this Sunday. The runner from Rochford is running in memory of his mother-in-law Jane who was cared for by Fair Havens at the end of her life in 2021. Jane was diagnosed with a terminal illness and at the start of her treatment was offered respite sessions at the hospice.

Echo: All set for Sunday - George BurgessAll set for Sunday - George Burgess (Image: Havens Hospices)

“The care team was there for my mum, and for us as a whole family through her whole cancer journey and we want to raise money for them to say thank you. We hope the money we raise will support another family going through what we went through. This event will bring us together to keep Mum’s memory alive, for all of us, but especially for her grandchildren.”


Dawn Corallini

The Fair Havens Nursing Assistant, has always wanted to run the London Marathon and running for Havens Hospices is a cause close to her heart.

Dawn has been working at Fair Havens since June 2022 and was inspired to become a Nursing Assistant because of the care her late husband received at the hospice nearly three years ago.

Dawn’s husband Fulvio and father to their teenage girls, was 49 when he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

Echo: Expert care - Dawn with FulvioExpert care - Dawn with Fulvio (Image: Havens Hospices)

Despite resisting palliative care initially due to a negative experience at hospital, within days Fulvio accepted the care he needed at the hospice.

Dawn said: “Fulvio only spent a week at Fair Havens, but that was what he needed. They restored his trust and faith in asking for help. For us, Fair Havens wasn’t about dying, it was getting Fulvio’s pain under control so we could have that small window of quality time together.”


Lauran Boulton

Little Havens Nurse Lauran Boulton, having clocked up countless miles during her training runs, will also be participating to raise money for the hospice she works for.

Lauran began working at Little Havens as a Care Team Nurse in 2015 and since then has become a Team Leader, coordinating the team on shift to ensure children and their families are being cared for in the best way possible.

Echo: Running charity - Alyssa and Lauran BoultonRunning charity - Alyssa and Lauran Boulton (Image: Havens Hospices)

“It doesn’t matter how fast I run or what time I complete the race in, I just can’t wait to cross the finish line. The atmosphere around the course is going to be such an amazing experience, and this is what I can’t wait for. I’m going to be making memories around the course while raising as much as I can for a charity that’s so close to my heart.”