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Marathon runners notch-up £450m with colourful antics

PUBLISHED: 16:16 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 16 August 2010

RUNNERS: Shortly after the start at Blackheath

RUNNERS: Shortly after the start at Blackheath

A TOTAL of 35,000 runners took to the streets under a blistering sun to compete in this year s Flora London Marathon. Starting in Blackheath and running through Charlton, Woolwich and Greenwich, fundraisers this year contended with heat reaching 16 degre

A TOTAL of 35,000 runners took to the streets under a blistering sun to compete in this year's Flora London Marathon.

Starting in Blackheath and running through Charlton, Woolwich and Greenwich, fundraisers this year contended with heat reaching 16 degrees.

The marathon raised an estimated £450 million for charities, with 'fun' runners including rhinos, trees and clowns.

Garry Keates, 44, and his fiancée Rachel Pitt, 37, took a half-mile detour off the beaten track to get married after a quick wash.

Mr Keates, said: "It's been the best day of my life, but I'll never do it again."

Phil Boniface, a Britsh Army Lance Corporal from Petts Wood, raised £1,900 for the Children's Liver Disease Foundation after finish in 3hrs, 59mins.

Iraq veteran Major Phil Packer, a serving soldier in the Royal Military Police who was paralysed in Basra last year, hopes to complete the course in two weeks.

The 36-year-old, from Petts Wood, is completing two miles a day as part of his bid to raise £1 million for Help the Heroes charity.

The fastest runner on the day was Kenyan Sammy Wanjiru, who finished in 2hrs 5 secs.

Germany's Irina Mikitenko finished in 2 hrs, 22 secs, beating Briton Mara Yamauchi by a minute.

But at the age of 74, Eileen Nobel, of Preston Drive, Bexleyheath, completed the gruelling 26.2 miles in 5hrs 26mins.

The Bexley Athletic Club member said: "It's a hard slog all the way but I always find the toughest bit comes at 15 miles, in the docklands.

"You feel tired, but you know there is still so far to go. It gets better at 21 miles when you know there's light at the end of the tunnel.

"I was very tired at the end, but not emotional. I just felt relieved to have survived it and just wanted to look up at the clock."

Running to raise about £500 for the Catholic Aid Agency for Overseas Development, the grandmother completed her 14th marathon and even beat her last time by four minutes.

Over-70s entering the marathon are expected to finish within six-and-a-half hours. Mrs Nobel trains by jogging around Danson Park and Joydens Wood.

The runner added: "I suppose I am quite fit for my age.

"Thanks to my time I'll definitely get a place at the next marathon, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'll do it again. I'll see how I feel in a week."

Mrs Nobel smashed the time of celebrity couple Peter Andre and Katie Price, who finished in 7hrs and 11mins after glamour model 'Jordan' twisted her knee at 18 miles.

Former Big Brother contestant, Beckenham-born DJ Kate Lawler, 28, ran the course in a cave-girl mini-skirt after last year running in her underwear.

About 6,038 runners received medical attention during the marathon, of which 35 were taken to hospital, whilst 120 members of the public needed medical attention.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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