Race against time to get to 2010 Virgin London Marathon

TWO pensioners were involved in one of the biggest races of their lives – and that was before the London Marathon had even started.

After volcanic ash left thousands of holiday makers stranded, Dennis and Eleanor Draper were left sweating over whether they would get back from Canada, where they had been visiting their daughter, to take part in the 26 mile 385 yard run through the capital.

Luckily the pair made it back on Wednesday, four days later then scheduled, and each completed their 20th London Marathon, in support of the Isabel Hospice.

“We both found it quite hard,” said Garden City Runners stalwart Dennis, 73.

“I suppose you could put it down to the nine-hour flight and the seven-hour time difference. But we got round, that was the main thing.”

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Meanwhile Kelly Garrod, 25, ran the course with her older brother Wayne in support of special care baby charity Bliss, which provides support for sick and premature babies across the country.

The Welwyn siblings were aiming to raise �2,000 each, and Kelly said: “I was absolutely fine until about mile 18, but after that it became really hard.

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“Those last three to four miles felt like the longest in your life.”

Elsewhere, Potters Bar mortgage consultant Paul Bass had mixed feelings about his run.

The 34-year-old was pleased to have raised around �2,500 for The Children’s Trust, but was disappointed that he was unable to beat his time of three-and-a-half hours when he last took part in the marathon, aged 18.

“I already had a knee injury, and my physio had said it was a miracle I even made it to the starting line,” Paul said.

“I was going really well, but all of a sudden my knee went, and I pretty much hobbled the last nine miles.

“By then I didn’t care, I just wanted to finish and get the sponsorship money.

“Fifty per cent of me is over the moon with the money raised, and 50 per cent of me is gutted to do all that training only for my injury to find me out.”

*It’s still not too late to donate to the runners. Simply click on the links above to go to their fundraising pages.

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