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Autism East Midlands is excited to announce that there will be eight runners taking on the World’s most iconic running race in 2020. These fantastic supporters are from all corners of the region we cover and have been hard at work training for the big day at the end of April. Please take some time to read the stories of our incredible runners:

Emma Griffiths

Emma, who is from Castle Donnington, might well be a familiar face to you all. This is because she ran the London Marathon for Autism East Midlands in 2019, and absolutely smashed it!

The motivation behind Emma’s second London Marathon experience is the same as her first, which is her son, Harrison who was diagnosed with autism shortly before she signed up for her first marathon.

Emma hopes that on her second marathon she is able to embrace the day a little more than last year: “I really underestimated the magnitude of the training and the atmosphere on the day. This time I want to embrace the atmosphere and take it all in, instead of just enduring it!”

You can support Emma’s fundraising and learn more about her story here: Emma’s Just Giving Page


Jade Haines

Northampton resident Jade has always wanted to take on the London Marathon but until now didn’t have the courage to sign up. She is now incredibly excited to take on the World’s most iconic race.

Jade has fundraised for the charity before and is motivated to do so because her nephew is on the spectrum. This will be the biggest challenge Jade will has set herself in order to fundraise for Autism East Midlands and she will be preparing for the big day by cramming in lots of running!

You can learn more about Jade’s story here: Jade’s Just Giving Page




Joshua Elliott

Josh is from Leicester and is a complete novice when it comes to running. Although he is a keen sportsman, long distance running is completely new to Josh, so he has slowly been building up his distances during training.
He is the cousin of Kirsty, another member of our London Marathon #TeamAEM and is spurred on to achieve, due to the fantastic work she has been doing at our Tall Trees Adult Flexible Day Service.

“To be part of a collective effort to support this incredible and underrepresented cause is such a huge honour and I hope that together we are able to raise money and the public profile of the charity in any way we can.”

You can support Josh’s fundraising efforts by donating here: Josh’s Just Giving Page

Lucy Pandit

Lucy lives in Leicestershire, which provides a wonderful setting to train for the London Marathon, but Lucy’s training will be conducted right across the globe in a huge variety of settings due to her job (we cannot wait to see where Lucy’s training takes place).

Lucy has seen first hand the work that Autism East Midlands do within schools and universities supporting students and it is this that has inspired her to take on the London Marathon, in its 40th Year.

“I began my career supporting students with autism and loved every minute I spent with them. Their experiences in school and university inspired me to study a degree in education, with a particular focus on the support available for students with autism.”

You can support Lucy’s fundraising efforts here: Lucy’s Just Giving Page


Ross Levy

Ross is from Nottingham and his inspiration to run the London Marathon for Autism East Midlands is very close to home. Ross’ brother, Alex, has autism and works for the charity’s specialist school in Nottingham, Sutherland House School.

The lure of taking on this iconic race spurs Ross on; “It’s one of the greatest races in the world, I am over the moon to have this opportunity”.

You can learn more about Ross’ journey and support his fundraising efforts here: Ross’ Just Giving Page


Kirsty Taylor

Kirsty is the registered manager at our Adult Flexible Day Service in Retford, called Tall Trees. She has studied autism at degree level and worked in SEN Education prior to moving to Autism East Midlands.

The London Marathon for Kirsty is a once in a lifetime challenge that she is extremely excited to take on. She has been putting in the training on her trusted treadmill in her home and has even taken up yoga to help with stretching and limiting the risk of injury. You can support Kirsty’s fundraising journey here: Kirsty’s Just Giving Page

John Leigh

John lives in Mansfield and secured his place at “The world’s best marathon event” through the London Marathon Ballot, he then decided to use his place to support Autism East Midlands.

Despite not having a personal connection to Autism East Midlands John’s son is currently awaiting his autism diagnosis, he is therefore aware of the work that the charity does across the region. “It feels great to be raising money for Autism East Midlands who help so many people in the East Midlands”

You can learn more about John’s story and support him here: John’s Just Giving Page


Drew Jackson

Drew is an autistic man from Nottingham who is determined to complete the London Marathon.

“This will be an enormous challenge for me, there will literally be thousands of people and I will definitely need to work out some strategies to get me through the first bit. Music will help and I do not have to socialise. Being on the spectrum has its advantages too. Quite often, hyper focusing on my special interests can bring about some challenges as I struggle to switch my attention, but in this case, I think it will come in handy as I retreat to “The Zone” to get me through the hours! – I AM SO DETERMINED TO DO THIS!”

“I may not be the best or the fastest of the 40,000+ individuals running that day, but I will without doubt, be the best version of myself. I am so grateful for not only the opportunity to achieve something personal, but to be able to represent and raise funds and awareness for an incredible charity. I am bursting with pride already – Thank you so much AEM!”

You can support Drew here: Drew’s Just Giving Page