This year’s London Marathon saw a return to the traditional course for over 40,000 runners and a virtual race started at any time on 3 October on a course of their choice for another 40,000. There were Fairfield residents running (and walking) in both. Here are two of their stories.

Caroline Coan, Emma Mapletoft, Kelly McCrow and Joanne Collins, virtual race

We were so fortunate to have been approached by Support Dogs UK to undertake the virtual London Marathon and raise money for this worthy charity. With a 6am start we set off from Welwyn Garden City along the disused Cole Green railway track and then along the Lea Valley tow path. We enjoyed perfect weather conditions and had lots of support from both the general public and other virtual marathon runners too to keep us going! A few blisters and a flooded underpass may have slowed us down, but didn’t stop us.

We should have been joined by Rebecca Patching, but unfortunately she contracted COVID just before the race and could not compete. She will be doing the distance too once she’s fit and well – although sadly, because she couldn’t be there on the day, she misses out on her medal.

Support Dogs UK train specialist assistance dogs to help improve the lives of those living with epilepsy, autism and disability, providing safety, independence and socially inclusive living. Please help by donating, allowing them to continue to provide this service.

Jennifer Robertson, traditional course

I did it! I spent most of the time thinking “What on earth am I doing?!?” but running the London Marathon on Sunday 3 October was a privilege and totally worth it! Since losing my dad to suicide I’ve been acutely aware of the struggles people have with mental health so choosing the charity Mind was an easy decision.

COVID has meant it’s been a difficult couple of years for so many people but hopefully raising money will help make a difference. I’m no athlete and I wasn’t fast but I ran all the way and the experience was incredible. I’m super grateful for all support!