St Albans runners are ready and waiting for London Marathon to begin

Ehud Eliashar

Ehud Eliashar - Credit: Archant

Runners pounding the pavements in the weeks running up to the London Marathon have been a familiar sight on local streets as they complete their final preparations.

Simon Dodds

Simon Dodds - Credit: Archant

They range from a self-confessed ‘local loon’ who is running for Parkinson’s UK to an equine surgeon who wants to raise £60,000 for Alzheimer’s Research because his mother is living with dementia.

All of them are London Marathon ‘virgins’ who have never taken part in the event before.

Harpenden man Dean Murley is taking to the streets of the capital to raise money for the NSPCC. The owner of market research and strategy company, White Tiger, he has taken part in five marathons but this is his first London one.

He explained: “I started running when I had my gall bladder removed five years ago. I wanted to get healthy and lose a load of weight so I took up running and have never really stopped.

Claire Taylor

Claire Taylor - Credit: Archant

“I ran my first marathon in Edinburgh in five hours 32 minutes but I’m expecting a new personal best in London of around three hours and 15 minutes - an improvement of over two hours.”

The time it takes to complete the London Marathon doesn’t really matter too much to Claire Taylor, 3, who lives on the Verulam Estate in St Albans, and is running for Parkinson’s UK.

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She has been raising money for the charity for four years - her father died from Parkinson-related illnesses in August 2015 - and the London Marathon is her biggest challenge yet.

Describing herself as a ‘local loon’. she said: “I am not going to break any world records but do it at my own pace and time.”

Cheered on by daughter Emily, family and friends, she expects to run for five to six and a half hours but with other fundraising this year, she could net as much as £2,700 for Parkinson’s UK.

Equine surgeon Ehud Eliashar, who lives in St Albans, is running his first-ever marathon for Alzheimer’s Research UK because his mum Toni, 80, was diagnosed with dementia five years ago.

She lives in Jerusalem where she is being looked after by his father Oded and a carer. She is receiving good medical care but Ehud wants to raise money into research for a cure.

Ehud, who came to the UK from Israel in 1998, said: “My mum doesn’t recognise me any more though she does know my name. It all started with the typical signs, repeating the same stories.

“She has three children and was a very caring mum growing up. It’s upsetting knowing she’s going through all this and I can’t see her every day.”

Ehud has always been a runner but has never done a marathon before. He hopes to raise £60,000 for the charity.

Harpenden-born recruitment consultant Simon Dodds is also taking part in the London Marathon and he is raising money for Herts-based charity HAD - Herts Action on Disability.

He chose the charity because of the invaluable services it provided for his grandmother Muriel Morgan in her senior years.

The former pupil of St Dominic’s primary school and Roundwood Park secondary school, said that HAD’s accessible transport service had allowed his grandmother to get out and about and she had also bought a number of mobility products from their equipment centre.

He added: “In general the charity provide vital support and equipment for older and disabled people. They’re a great charity with some fantastic volunteers.”