BRAVE Alistair Richards has raised more than £20,000 for Salisbury Hospice by running the London Marathon just five days after the death of his wife Nicola.
The farm manager from Stoford decided to continue with the race because it was what his wife, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only two months ago, would have wanted.
“It was hard waiting for the start on my own and remembering last year when we ran it together,” said Mr Richards, 45, “but Nicola’s memory and the huge amount pledged by so many people spurred me on.
“I completed the marathon in four hours, which I hope Nicola would have been proud of.”
Sid Keyte picked up the Guinness World Record for the fastest person dressed as a phone box.
Despite his bulky home-made outfit the engineering company programme manager from Tilshead finished in five hours 54 minutes and raised £5,400 for Mind.
Salisbury City football fan Rob Drag, of Downton Road, Salisbury, has raised £1,600 and is hoping his final total will top £2,000 for CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young.
Mr Drag, 31, a contracts manager at Salisbury District Hospital, ran in memory of former Whites player Nelson Monhon, who died of a heart attack in 2010, at the age of 20.
He completed the course in 3 hours 2 minutes, which should guarantee him a place in next year’s event.
Kathy Watson celebrated with “fizz and pizza” after finishing strongly to complete the course in 4 hours, 41 minutes and 27 seconds.
“Seeing my family in the crowd was such a lift,” said Mrs Watson, 49, from Wylye, who has raised almost £3,000 for prostate cancer research.
Marathon newbie Kelvin Farmaner was delighted to complete the course in 3 hours 47 minutes.
The partner at Trethowans solicitors has so far raised more than £2,700 for the World Cancer Research Fund and said: “It was a privilege to run for such an important charity. A day to remember!”
Tamsin Kemp described the race as “one of the best days of my life”.
The 24-year-old from Lower Bemerton finished the marathon – her first – in 5 hours, 12 minutes and said: “I look forward to competing in many more. I’ve definitely caught the marathon bug.”
Her efforts raised £2,000 for Fight for Sight.
For some, the going proved tougher than expected. Dan Peat was aiming for four hours, but said: “My knee went at mile 16 so it was just a case of getting myself home after that. The crowd were fantastic.
“I’m still very sore, and struggling to get up and down stairs, but I raised £700 for the Miscarriage Association.”
The race also turned into “a real nightmare” for experienced marathon runner Andy Gillespie, 55.
The hospital estates officer from Barford St Martin said: “I struggled from three miles with a pulled calf, which I was really gutted about, and stumbled to my worst London time of 4 hours 11 minutes.”
Teachers Marc and Sarah Ibbotson, both 35, also found the heat “very difficult” to endure but said: “The support we both had from total strangers was incredible.”
Mrs Ibbotson, who plays football for Alderbury Ladies, finished in 4 hours 48 minutes and raised £900 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Mr Ibbotson finished in 5 hours 18 minutes, and he raised £800 for Prostate Cancer UK.
Three members of the Brewster family, from Woodside Road, Salisbury, completed the course. Sarah and her husband Michael were first-time entrants, and managed 3 hours 52 minutes and 3 hours 6 minutes respectively.
Their son Ben, a policeman, clocked up 2 hours 47 minutes.
Sarah, 46, has raised about £600 for the Stars Appeal stroke fund, while Ben, 23, was supporting Melanoma UK.
And chartered surveyor Peter Sammons, who works for Myddelton & Major in Salisbury, raised £1,800 after completing his first London Marathon in 3hrs 31 minutes.
Novice runner D-J Gent, 39, from Chilmark finished the course in four hours 40 minutes, and raised more than £2,000 for Afghanaid.
Teacher Stephanie Paden finished in five hours nine minutes to raise £3,553 for Unique, which helps children with learning difficulties.
And Sally Orange, who ran dressed as an apple, narrowly missed out on beating her own record for the fastest marathon dressed as a piece of fruit but has promised to try again next year.
The Army reservist and physiotherapist managed 4 hours 38 minutes, raising about £2,500 for Combat Stress and Help for Heroes.
Before the race she even managed to persuade elite athlete Geoffrey Mutai, the Kenyan who eventually finished in sixth place, to try on her costume.
Army officer Matt Bosworth finished in 3 hours 13 minutes, raising just
under £2,000 for Get Kids Going! Mr Bosworth, 38, from Harnham, said:
“It was an amazing experience – the noise and atmosphere generated by the crowds really spurs you on.
“I’m feeling really good now – in fact, I’m off out for a run!”
Hairdresser Rosie Adlard raised £1,906 for Salisbury District Hospital’s Stars Appeal.
The 24-year-old from Alderbury clocked up 3 hours 56 minutes and said: “I’m very proud of myself. My body aches now, but it was all worth it.”