Runners overcome challenges to complete London Marathon

Six runners took to the streets of London this weekend to raise money for Autism East Midlands.

Fulfilling a dream to complete the iconic London Marathon was Autism East Midlands Director of Corporate Services, Carole Botham, who took on the challenge whilst also raising funds for AEM. Also taking part in the Marathon to raise money for the charity were Dan Kneller, who works at AEM’s IT provider Addooco, along with Becca Peel, Shoaib Awan, Luke Longley, and Ross Levy.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Carole. “We were buoyed on by the crowds who supported us along the route. I hit my most challenging section between the 22 and 24 mile-mark but the crowds kept me going and I couldn’t stop at this point, walking was not an option!"

"Passing landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace was very emotional and when I reached the sign that said ‘400 metres to the end’ it was such a powerful feeling. I was thrilled to complete it within my target at 4h 58m and I am so glad I did it; I could not stop smiling, nor crying.”

The money raised through sponsorship will go towards supporting autistic people across the East Midlands. She added: “By raising money for Autism East Midlands I hope that I’ll be giving something back and going some way to help those who need support.”

Road run

Dan Kneller enjoyed taking part in the fundraiser, adding: "Taking part in the London Marathon was motivating, challenging and gratifying."

Fellow runner, also racing to raise money for AEM, was Luke Longley, who was faced with a major challenge when halfway round an ankle injury flared up. Even so he managed to power on and finished in 4h 44m. While he has previously completed ultra-marathons on different terrains, he hadn’t been a fan of road running before. Racing along the city streets was a departure from running across countryside and hillsides.

“This has to be the hardest run I’ve done – both mentally and physically. However, raising money for AEM is what kept me going. Whilst my pace drifted from where I wanted it to be, placing myself in an uncomfortable setting of a road run is nothing compared to how my daughter and many others with autism must feel on a daily basis. Five hours of hardship for me, in that sense, is nothing compared to that.”

The day also proved a challenge for Shoaib Awan as he ended up running the marathon with a knee injury. He finished in 6 hours, raising an impressive £1,075 for AEM. “I raised the money for AEM because autism is often misunderstood. I have family members who have autism. I ran it for them and for a good cause. I would definitely do it again.”

Carole Botham and Dan Kneller completed the London Marathon in aid of Autism East Midlands.

Carole and Dan run in London Marathon

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