Olympians Daley Thompson CBE and Snowy Brooks joined Barnardo’s Vice President Baroness Floella Benjamin and more than 20 runners for a training session preparing them for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.
The event at Battersea Park’s Millennium Arena, was held by Barnardo’s to thank participating runners for their support, offer fundraising advice and give them a chance to meet their fellow Barnardo’s teammates before the big race on April 28th.
The runners were put through their paces with Olympians Daley and Snowy while Baroness Benjamin gave a motivational speech and essential running advice and tips.
Double Olympic gold medallist Daley said:“The training day showcased the runners’ spirit and determination to raise money for the vulnerable children and young people our services support, which will stand them in good stead on the day of the London Marathon.
“Barnardo’s is a wonderful charity to raise money for and I wish every single runner good luck on the day. We know you can do it.”
Former Barnardo’s boy Snowy, who represented Barbados in the 1972 Olympics in the decathlon, said: “The London Marathon is a mental and physical test of endurance. To achieve it they will not only be taking part in an incredible event but raising money for a brilliant charity.
“I was really impressed by the runners taking part, they all did really well and I send them best wishes for the big day.”
Actress and Barnardo’s Vice President Baroness Floella Benjamin, who has run 10 London Marathons for the children’s charity, said: “The runners have a big challenge ahead of them but with every mile they conquer and every pound they raise they will be making a huge difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the UK.
“We will all be cheering you on – good luck, we know you will be brilliant and keep smiling because winners smile.”
One of the amazing runners to take part in the training day was Pauline Jones who lives in Greenwich. Pauline signed up for the London Marathon after her church raised money for Barnardo’s at Christmas with a series of carol concerts.
Pauline said: “At the time I was increasing my own running distance which was just for personal enjoyment, but I thought maybe I could turn that into further fundraising for Barnardo’s. I had learnt a little bit more about what the charity does these days to support children and young people and I was really impressed and inspired.
Pauline, who is 70, said: “This will be my first marathon. I have always loved running outside and if running is your thing and you find it really enjoyable then you should definitely give it a go. At the end of the day, it’s not about completing the race in the shortest possible time; it’s about reaching the finish line. I have been able to increase my distance by exploring the Thames path in both directions from where I live in Greenwich. Slowly but steadily my training is coming along.”
With last year’s race raising £295,000 the charity is hopeful that as many people as possible will dig deep and donate to help vulnerable children across the UK.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan added: “I would like to say good luck and a huge thank you to everyone running the London Marathon for Barnardo’s.
“The funds you raise will go towards our frontline services, which support some of the most vulnerable children and families across the UK. We couldn’t do this vital work without the generosity of supporters like you.” Keep up to date with the Barnardo’s runners on Twitter using #TeamBarnardos