Hundreds of runners managed to raise thousands of pounds for communal causes at Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon.
Leading the way were Norwood’s 22 runners who pulled in around £80,000 for the charity. Among them was Nicky Stewart who fulfilled her ambition to run the 26.2 mile distance.
She said: “This was my first marathon. It was the most amazing experience and is something I wanted to do before I turn 50 in a few weeks. I started training a year ago and finished in a time of 5:14. I was delighted to raise £7,500 for Norwood. Now I’ve done it, never again!”
Aviva Braunold, Kisharon adult day services manager, waited eight years before starting her second London Marathon. After completing Sunday’s 26.2-mile race in a leisurely 6.26, she said: “My motivation was purely for the cash — I want to raise as much as possible because the financial packages we receive [from local authorities] do not cover the cost of the support services we provide for people with learning difficulties.”
In contrast to Ms Braunold’s power-walking, Kisharon’s fastest runner was IT consultant Brian Gordon, 42, from Edgware, who finished in 4.03.
“This was my fourth and fastest marathon to date — in fact I was hoping to be quicker but it was too hot.” He has raised £3,000 which will be split between Kisharon and Myeloma UK.
The other Kisharon runners were patent attorney Michael Jaeger, 40, from Edgware (4.30), and diamond merchant Matt Bick, 33 , who finished in 4.52. Mr Jaeger said: “This was my first marathon and it was hard going but it went well — and it was great having my family there to support me. I’ve raised £8,000 which will be split 70/30 between Kisharon and Jewish Genetic Disorders UK.”
Mr Jaeger hopes to run again next year but has “to negotiate with my wife, as it is two weeks after our son’s bar mitzvah.” Richard Franklin, Kisharon’s director of fundraising and communications, said: “I am full of admiration for our runners and their dedication and commitment towards the people we support.”
Five runners raised a total of £12,500 for Jewish Care. The fastest finisher was Sharon Karpol in 3.21, followed by Emma Louise Goldstein (4.05), Max Sugarman (4.33), Alex Pollak (4.33) and Adam Shelley (4.45).
Marketing and fundraising director, Daniel Carmel-Brown said: “It was an incredible day and we are so proud and touched by the immense effort made by all our runners who have raised a fantastic amount towards funding Jewish Care’s vital services."
Emunah, which supports disadvantaged children in Israel, had two runners in the marathon. Trainee accountant William Wolfson, 27, from Harrow-on-the-Hill was the fastest, finishing in 4:34 while finance manager Jonathan Fenster, 53, from South Harrow, followed close behind in 4:50.
“My legs are killing,” said trainee accountant William Wolfson, who raised more £2,100 for Emunah in his first London race. “I ran the Paris Marathon in 2011 and finished in 4.22 which I was hoping to beat, but I was quite happy with my time. The first half of the race was enjoyable but once you get to 14 or 15 miles the cramps set in and there is nothing pleasurable about that. There were loads of runners along the route and it was difficult to overtake but there was a great atmosphere and even random strangers were calling out my name. The best part was finishing and seeing my wife and family at the end.”
Despite minor injury, finance manager Jonathan Fenster proclaimed it “a good run. I’d been hoping to finish in less than four-and-a-half hours, which I didn’t manage. I hurt a muscle in my right leg at about 23 miles but it didn’t stop me from finishing. I ran for the charity in 2009 and said never again, but I got my arm twisted this time. It was a lovely day and I’ve raised over £3,000 for Emunah — that’s what it is about. I am really buoyed by the support I have received from everyone associated with the charity.“
Meanwhile, veteran runner Flora Frank, 70, from Edgware, was interviewed by the BBC. “They couldn’t believe this was my 30th full marathon worldwide.” Mrs Frank has now completed 10 marathons in Israel, two in Paris and 18 in London. “It was very hot, which made it more difficult this year but I’ve never heard so much applause. The crowds cheer you like you’re the Queen of England. My secret is that I walk. I could do it in a better time, but I don’t want to be injured at my age. I’m still raring to go and please God I’ll be back next year.”
Supporters included her grandson, Jake Frank, 11, who donated his pocket money to the cause. “Of all my donations it was the most meaningful. He just ran upstairs and gave it to me,” said Mrs Frank.
Emunah director Deborah Nathan said: “Our runners are helping some of Israel’s neediest children — we are touched and amazed by their efforts.”
More than £30,000 was raised by nine enthusiastic World Jewish Relief runners. The WJR team included Elliot Norman, who flew in from America, Abigail Purkis who celebrated her 25th birthday on marathon day and a husband and wife team from Manchester.
The husband and wife, Amanda and Alastair Curtis, ran the whole 26.2 miles side by side raising nearly £3,000 for the charity and stepping over the line together with a finishing time of 4:40. Ms Curtis explained why they chose to run the marathon for WJR: “I have been part of the Manchester Committee for WJR for eight years and I think it is a great organisation that not only helps Jewish people but people in need all over the world.”
Marc Plesner from Totteridge, who also ran for WJR , raised nearly £4,500.
Hannah Morris from Finchley was delighted. “This was my first marathon and I didn’t start training until January. I couldn’t run a mile back then so it feels like a huge achievement. I got engaged in January too… a word of advice, don’t train for a marathon and plan a wedding at the same time, it’s a girl’s nightmare.”
Also running for WJR was Daniel Major who finished in 4.45.
Leeds sent a team of six game marathon runners to pound the London pavements. Veteran runner Lloyd Rakusen, who has participated in the race for the past 12 years, was diagnosed with a serious illness last year and has been undergoing treatment at the Bexley Wing at the city’s St James’ Hospital. The 66-year-old, whose time was 4.26, five minutes behind last year’s effort, said: “The good news is that just after six months I completed my treatment successfully in time to pursue my greatest passion, the London Marathon.”
Mr Rakusen was running for three charities, Leeds Jewish Welfare Board, a prostate cancer charity and One Voice, a charity that supports children and families who use communication aids.
Also participating were Monica Angel (5.30), Gaby Fisher (5.33), Joel Goldman (5-33), Philip Myers (4-17),and Jane Oughton (5.15), whose efforts will also benefit Leeds Jewish Welfare Board.