FOR the 36,000 people taking part, this year’s London Marathon was the culmination of months of training.

Many of the runners had a special reason for taking part in the race, and most raised a lot of cash for charities close to their hearts.

Wendy Foster completed her second London Marathon in five-and-a-half hours.

The 46-year-old from Launton, near Bicester, ran to raise cash for PCP Housing (Perry Clayman Project), which provides support for overcoming addiction.

She said: “It was an electrifying experience, I would say anyone who is considering it should do it.

“I got cramp and that really slowed me down. My heart rate could have gone a lot higher, but my legs just wouldn’t go.

“But I’m very happy with my time.”

She raised £500 for PCP because the project had helped her family and friends.

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  • Stuart Harper

Anna Reading ran in memory of her sister, Dr Bethan Reading, who died last January aged 34, from breast cancer.

The 34-year-old and her friends have set up a fundraising group called Beth’s Pink Ladies and have so far raised more than £23,000 in her name.

Anna and her friend Jude Barber, 50, raised £6,000 for charity Breast Cancer Campaign by running together on Sunday.

Office manager Anna, of Forge Place, Fritwell, finished in four hours 38 minutes and said: “It was brilliant, I loved it. There are loads of people running in costumes so there was a real sense of fun.”

She said she was happy with her time, but was “definitely considering” returning next year to try to beat it.

Simon Faulkner-Barrett, from Bampton, ran the marathon for the second year in a row and achieved a new personal best, of four hours 28 minutes.

Car salesman Mr Faulkner-Barrett, 39, used the race to raise money for The Mulberry Bush School, in Standlake near Witney, which provides therapy and support for traumatised children.

He said: “It was hard work – real tough going. The weather forecast said it was going to be cloudy, but it was blistering sunshine.

“But the crowds were awesome, their cheering got me round.”

The Oxford Times:

  • Wendy Foster

He hopes to raise £2,000 for the school, where his fiancee Vicki Kenyon is a therapeutic care worker.

Stuart Harper from Abingdon-based IT reseller Open Reality completed the marathon in five hours 14 minutes.

He entered the race after their director Andy Grover stood to take a photograph at a charity auction, but the auctioneer took it as the winning bid for places in the London Marathon.

He is hoping to raise £1,400 for charity SeeAbility, which supports people with disabilities, including visual impairment.