THOUSAND of eager runners – including many from across Dorset – took part in the London Marathon this morning.
Balmy temperatures greeted the Olympic heroes, celebrities and charity fundraisers who comprised the 36,000 competing in this year’s momentous event.
Unbroken sunshine and barely a breath of wind meant the 11C recorded at the start of the race in Greenwich at 10am felt considerably warmer, as racers began the arduous 26.2-mile course through the capital.
Bournemouth’s talented ultra-runner Steve Way came in with a time of two hours 16 minutes, making him the third British runner across the line – just eight minutes behind Mo Farah.
He took the top spot in the club, charity and ballot category.
Tweeting on Sunday afternoon, he said: “It appears the marathon training handbook may have to be chucked out and rewritten.”
Tammy Battison, 30, from Poole, was running for the NSPCC, finishing her first marathon in five hours 22 minutes.
She said: “I’ve just sat down, which was a really bad idea.
“I was surprised how it went because I didn’t need my music because the crowd were so great.
“It gets quite emotional at about 22 miles because I thought ‘Wow, I’ve got this far’.
“I’m not sure if I will do another one – let’s see how I feel in a couple of days.”
Seasoned marathon runner Kathy Fooks, 54, from Bournemouth, finished her race in three hours and 40 minutes.
A member of Littledown Harriers, Kathy, who has run about 40 marathons in her life, said: “The crowd were amazing this year.
“It was helped by the weather, which brought everyone out; but people always turn out to support the London Marathon.”
Her daughter Serena, 29, also recorded a personal best of three hours and 54 minutes.
Both were running the race for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
Kathy’s friends, Heather Khosh-nevis and Naomi Bennett, also finished with times under four hours.
Clare and Barry Julyan, both 41, from Merley, found the heat gruelling but both finished within half an hour of each other.
Clare said: “It was tough because it was very hot and in the afternoon people were just trying to find shady spots to run in.
“We’ve raised about £3,000 for the Anthony Nolan, which is something I have supported for a long time.”
Rob Ward, 31, who works at RBS in Bournemouth and was running for Wellchild, finished in 3:54:45.
He said: “It was my first marathon and a massively impressive experience.
“The atmosphere was amazing, with the crowds and everybody from the charity giving a massive boost.
“It’s an experience you’ll never forget.”
Dan Peat of Downton, who was running to raise funds for the Miscarriage Association, completed the marathon in a time of 4:34:44.
He was hoping to smash his target of £1,500 for the charity, “so close to my heart it hurts,” having experienced three miscarriages.
Mike Terry of Littledown Harriers finished his 25th marathon in 4:40:06, raising funds for Prostate Cancer UK, while fellow club member and coach Naomi Bennett ran her 40th marathon in 3:51:34, delighted to achieve her target of finishing in under four hours.
Paul Holman of Christchurch, raising funds for Macmillan, completed the 26 miles in 3:51:47.
Melanie Campbell, who works for Poole Tourism finished in 3:24:15 aiming to raise £3,000 for the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch which provided invaluable care to her mum, who died of cancer in the summer of 2012.
Ally Case, 47, from Bourne-mouth, with a £2,000 target for the National Autistic Society, ran the course in 4:24:19 and was delighted with her time for her first marathon.
“I loved it,” she said. “It was brilliant. It was congested at the start and it took a while to get round everyone but I am really happy with my time.
“Before this I ran to keep fit. A long run to me was six miles.
“I joined the Littledown Harriers to train and I will definitely do it again. Everyone was shouting encouragement, it was brilliant.”
Phil Clarke from Parkstone, who was dressed as Wally from the Where’s Wally? books, had been feeling unwell and pulled out at the starting line.
He had been hoping to become the fastest man ever to run as a character from a book.