SPIRIT OF LONDON AWARD WINNERS
15 April 2018
The 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon celebrates the unique spirit of the world’s greatest marathon, showcasing the extraordinary stories of its runners, champions, volunteers and supporters through the Spirit of London campaign.
On Race Day last year, millions of people around the world were moved by the sight of Swansea Harrier Matthew Rees helping David Wyeth down The Mall to the Finish Line. That moment encapsulated the unique spirit of the London Marathon and inspired the theme for 2018.
In January, Wyeth and Rees were named as the first winners of the new Spirit of London award and that was followed by the announcement that former boxer Michael Watson - who completed the 2003 London Marathon 12 years after suffering severe brain injuries in a world title fight – would be the third recipient of the award.
London Marathon Events has just announced a further ten recipients of the Spirit of London award. The winners are (in alphabetical order):
· Rhian Burke: Rhian was part of the Mind Over Marathon team who completed the 2017 London Marathon for Heads Together to raise awareness of mental health. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following a double tragedy in 2012 when her one-year-old son George died from pneumonia and then her husband, overwhelmed by grief, committed suicide a few days later. It left Rhian as a single mother to her two other children. She has set up the charity 2 Wish Upon a Star to help other bereaved families.
· Rev Steve Chalke: The record for most money raised for charity by an individual at the London Marathon – indeed at any marathon worldwide – is held by Reverend Steve Chalke MBE. The Londoner raised an incredible £2,330,159.38 when he completed the 2011 race. Rev Chalke is the leader of the Oasis Charitable Trust and is a prominent social activist.
· Charlie Dark for Run Dem Crew: DJ and poet Charlie formed Run Dem Crew (RDC) in London in 2007 as an alternative to more traditional running clubs. RDC is committed to change and works closely with young people across London providing mentoring and advice along with the opportunity to explore London in a safe, unique, positive and supportive environment.
· Zamzam Farah: Ran the 400m at the 2012 London Olympics for Somalia to show her country that women could compete in sport. This was not received well in her home country and she had to flee to the UK to seek asylum. She completed the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Claire Lomas: The first person in London Marathon history to complete the route walking in a bionic suit. Claire was paralysed after an accident riding a horse in 2007 and walked the London Marathon route in 2012, taking 16 days to cover the 26.2 miles.
· Chris Moon: In 1995, Chris was seriously injured in Africa clearing landmines for a charity and lost his lower arm and leg. Less than a year after leaving hospital he completed the London Marathon. He has since gone on to run 14 London Marathons, raising thousands of pounds for charity.
· Fajau Singh: Fauja is the oldest person to have ever finished the London Marathon. He was 93 years old when he completed the 2004 race. Now aged 107, Fauja was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to sport and charity.
· Jill Tyrell: On 7 July 2005, Jill was on the same carriage as a suicide bomber who blew up an underground train travelling between King’s Cross and Russell Square. Twenty-six people died on that train and a total of 52 people died on the same day of coordinated terror attacks on London, which became known as 7/7. Jill spent two-and-a-half months in hospital following the attack but recovered well enough to take part in the 2006 London Marathon.
· Claude Umuhire: After surviving the Rwandan genocide as a child, Claude came to London with his mother. Years later, after finding himself homeless on the streets of the capital, he was introduced to running by The Running Charity. This helped transform his life and in 2015 he ran the London Marathon for the charity.
· Roy Webber: 71-year-old Roy has volunteered at every London Marathon since the very first event in 1981 through his involvement with the 23rdCamberwell Scouts.
Up to 26 people will be presented with the special commemorative coin at an awards ceremony in May. The coin shows Dick Beardsley (USA) and Inge Simonsen (NOR), the joint winners of the first London Marathon who crossed the finish line hand in hand. The coin is engraved with one of the London Marathon’s founding pillars, created by Chris Brasher and John Disley: To have fun and provide some happiness and a sense of achievement in a troubled world. The reverse of the coin shows the trophy awarded to Dorando Pietri after the 1908 Olympic Marathon.
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