THE crowds, the sun, the top class athletes, the good causes and the truly inspiring all helped get West Dorset runners through the gruelling 26 miles of the 2014 London Marathon.
Everyone of the 35,000plus runners has their own story to tell but what they all have in common is the grit and determination to put themselves through months and months of training and fundraising –as well as the marathon itself.
This was 27-year-old Amy Day’s first marathon but definitely won’t be her last, she says.
She raised more than £3000 for the Anthony Nolan Trust She has only been training since November but with the help of personal trainer Joe Allen from Bridport Leisure Centre she was in good shape and managed a time of 4 hours 29 minutes, she said.
She said: “It was absolutely amazing, the crowd are absolutely incredible, I have never seen anything like it..
“Everyone always talks about the wall that hit at a certain point, but I was lucky I didn’t hit it and managed to keep a fairly consistent pace the whole way round.
“It was tough at times but the crowd kind of get you round.
“There were people running who were blind with their guide runners and that is the inspiration that keeps you going.
“I an definitely going to do it again.”
Joe even met her after the race and made her do a warm down which saw her running around St James Park after her marathon.
GRATEFUL: Adrian Strawbridge
Adrian Strawbridge, 35, from Marshwood have very personal reasons for running – to pay back a debt he felt he owed Dorset County Hospital for help with two of his three children.
It was his first marathon and managed a time of 4 hours 8 minutes and 10 seconds.
His overall position was 13,594 out of more than 35,000 finishers.
Half will go to the special care baby unit which provided expert help to him and his wife, Shelley, who is a teaching assistant at Marshwood School, when the eldest of their three sons, Dylan, who is now seven, was born prematurely.
The rest of the money will go to the Kingfisher children's ward which has successfully treated his second son, James, on a number of occasions for severe asthma.
Adrian said: “I found it very hot but very much enjoyed the experience.”
Adrian works with his father, Jim, on his farm and in their joint building business and next year father and son plan to run together.
Jim has run eight London Marathons but although not fit enough this years is determined to be next year.
Dorset’s NFU county adviser, Matthew Uren, 26, trained regularly on the coastal pathways between Dorchester and Lyme Regis for his first marathon attempt, which he completed in 5 hours 17 minutes.
He has raised more than £2000 for Farm Africa, a charity working with families in rural Africa.
Matthew said: “Coming from a farming background, and now working for the NFU, I have a real interest in farming and food production.
“The work that Farm Africa is doing to help people produce their own food is something I really believe in, so I am delighted to be able to do my bit for the charity.”
Portman hunt master Charlie Gundry, 34, who grew up in Bridport and kennel man Thomas Baker, 30, were running to raise money for the Countryside Alliance Foundation.
Mr Gundry said it was his first – and most likely his last – marathon.
He ran it in 4hrs 40 minutes and Mr Baker in 4hrs 10mins.
Mr Gundry said: “I was lucky I didn’t get injured. The last few miles were hard but I didn’t go too fast. I went at a consistent pace all the way through.
“It was probably better than I thought it was going to be.
“Certainly it was better in hindsight but I think it is unlikely I would do it again, it would have to be for a very good reason.”
Bride Valley mums Kate Smith and Sandie Burton have raised between them more than £3000 for the Rainbow Trust by completing the marathon.
Neither had run one before but Mrs Smith, 44, and Mrs Burton, 47, finished in 4hrs 46 minutes and 5hrs 10 mins respectively.
Mrs Smith said: “I really enjoyed every moment. It was such an amazing atmosphere.
“I was quite nervous.
“I met some amazing people – I followed a rhino for quite a time and a man with a fridge on his back, which was quite mad.
“I thoroughly recommend anybody who thinks they have it in them, just to go for it.
“The atmosphere does really push you on.”
She fully plans to do it again – but perhaps not next year.