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Good luck to all our London Marathon runners

On Sunday, 21 April 2024, 180 runners will don the MDUK colours and join the 50,000 entrants at the iconic TCS London Marathon. We caught up with some of #TeamMDUK to find out why they decided to take on the 26.2-mile challenge for us and how they’re feeling about the big day.

Siblings running together

This will be Abbie’s second London Marathon, having run for us in 2023, but she’s looking forward to being joined by her younger brother, Cris this year.

“It was an easy decision to re-enter for 2024 and fundraise for Muscular Dystrophy UK again,” says Abbie. “My dad has FSHD and my brother, Cris carries the mutated gene responsible for the condition, so I want to do whatever I can to raise awareness and funds for a charity that helps my family. Running alongside Cris is going to be one of the best days of my life and I can’t wait to cross the finish line with him.”

Cris says that running the London Marathon is one way of him staying positive. He tells us: “Sport is a huge part of my life and the thought of FSHD stopping me from being active is one of my biggest concerns. I know that there’s no cure for muscular dystrophy, but am hopeful that with ever-increasing research, one day the breakthrough will come. That’s why Abbie and I are running the London Marathon for Muscular Dystrophy UK. They support lots of families like ours as well as funding groundbreaking research, and we want to help ensure their resources and support reach everyone who needs them.”

Focusing on the positives

Six years ago, Lynsey was diagnosed with Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1, a rare muscle wasting condition. Her consultant told her she was likely to have ten years before she started to notice significant changes, but last year, after ending up in hospital, she realised that the condition was more advanced that she thought. When Lynsey spotted an advert for the London Marathon, she saw it as a sign.

“At present, my condition affects my jaw, my right arm, my feet and I’ve had cataract surgery,” explains Lynsey. “But recently it’s progressed to my liver and gallbladder so it’s getting to the point where I know I need to make some life changes. Taking on the London Marathon is a way for me to focus on something positive, get super healthy in the process and push my body to limits I’ve never experienced before. Yes, the future terrifies me, but I’ve got one life and I want to live it.

“Training has been getting harder and harder, but I’m really grateful for everyone’s support.”

Swapping rugby for running

Despite being more at home in rugby boots than running trainers, Harry is looking forward to being part of Team MDUK at the London Marathon, inspired by his younger brother who lives with Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). This will be Harry’s first marathon and he’s been training alongside playing a full rugby season as team captain of Honourable Artillery Company RFC.

He says: “My younger brother, Tom was diagnosed with FSHD when he was 14, over 11 years ago now. At the time of diagnosis, he was told he had to stop playing rugby, which was tough as it’s something we both love. However, over the years, everyday tasks have become increasingly challenging for him. But Tom is exceptional. It’s in his character – he just gets on with things.

“I’m running this marathon for him. It’s the least I can do to help support a truly special person who I’m lucky to call my brother and best friend. As well as fundraising, I want to help raise awareness so that more people understand what muscular dystrophy is.”

‘Life is for living’

Last May, Vicky’s life changed when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. Fast forward 11 months and she’s running the London Marathon, inspired by her 23-year-old nephew, Oli, who lives with muscular dystrophy.

She says, “Oli was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy before his first birthday and has always been in a wheelchair. He never allows his condition to get in the way of what he wants to do and his motto, ‘life is for living’, made me decide that I wanted to do something to celebrate life after my mastectomy last year. Having witnessed the impact of Oli living with a muscle wasting condition, there was always going to be only one charity I would run a marathon for!

“It hasn’t been an easy journey since my cancer diagnosis but running has been beneficial for my physical and mental wellbeing, and I’ve been training regularly with my best friend, who is running the marathon with me.  

“Oli is determined to show others that strength is not determined by muscles alone. He’s my inspiration for this challenge, and I want to raise as much as I can to help fund groundbreaking research into different muscle wasting conditions. Not just for Oli, but all the other brave young people I’ve met during my 30-year career as a paediatric nurse.”

Read more about Vicky’s story.

Eight marathons in eight weeks

The London Marathon will be the final run in Tom’s ‘Eight Marathons in Eight Weeks’ challenge, which kicked off in Tokyo on 3 March. He came up with the idea to support his close friends, Gary and Paul, who live with muscular dystrophy, and has smashed his original £8,000 fundraising target.

During his eight-week challenge, Tom has travelled around the UK, from Skegness to Brighton, as well as taking part in overseas marathons in Tokyo and Boston.

Tom says: “I can say hand on heart that I have looked forward to running all eight marathons. Of course it’s been hard, but I just keep reminding myself why I’m doing it and that running is a privilege. I take a lot of inspiration from Gary and Paul and am doing this for them and the rest of their family.”

Read more about Tom’s story.

Thank you

We’re so grateful to everyone who is running the London Marathon for us, helping to fundraise and increase awareness of muscle wasting conditions. We wish you all the best of luck and will be supporting you every step of the way.

If you’ve been inspired by our London Marathon runners, why not challenge yourself and sign up for an event today?

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