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CAPITAL CHALLENGE

PUBLISHED: 13:48 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:36 25 August 2010

THE LONDON Marathon gets under way on Blackheath this Sunday. Thirty-two thousand athletes from across the globe will run the 26.2

THE LONDON Marathon gets under way on Blackheath this Sunday. Thirty-two thousand athletes from across the globe will run the 26.2 arduous miles in what organisers say is the largest fund-raising event in the world. Reporter Alex Leach catches up with six runners who are set for the capital event. . .

CARBOHYDRATES and some overdue downtime were the prevailing priorities for this sporty sextet over the past couple of days after fine-tuning their pre-race plans.

The hard-yard homework already done, it is now a case of re-energising and relaxing before summoning up the strength for a final flourish on Sunday,

Istead and Ifield Harrier Vickie Goodchild, 30, of Five Ash Road, Gravesend, (pictured right) achieved a personal best at the Paddock Wood Half Marathon last month and is tipped to surpass even her own aspirations at this year's London Marathon

She said: "I've been running quite a lot better than I have been in the past and my coach reckons I can do it in a faster time now. I believe he thinks I've got wings!

"I've always said I'd like to do it in about four-and-a-half hours. But, he thinks I can knock 25-minutes off that."

Another entrant free from injury is Blackheath and Bromley Harrier Kevin May, 40, of Foley Road, Biggin Hill.

He said: "I am always dubious because if something starts hurting, you think 'Is that going to cause me a problem?' But, thankfully, everything seems to be alright a the moment.

"I've done a couple of half marathons (Brighton and Paddock Wood) and the Thanet 20-mile race, which went OK as I came 21st.

"Anything can happen on the day, but I'm hoping to get a time inside three hours. "

Unfortunately others have not been as lucky.

Dartford Road Runner Lisa Campbell, 37, of Melrose Avenue, Dartford, says: "I had to have a week out because of a really bad cold.

"I'm sure it will all be fine though and I'd ideally like to beat the four hours 28 minutes I did in 2005."

Dartford Harrier Stephanie Wood, 42, of Main Road, Longfield, recently suffered a hip problem, which ruled her out of trining for three weeks. She's only returned to her trainers over the past fortnight.

She said: "I've just had to ease off a little bit and I've not done that much training lately.

"I have got back running again now though, so fingers crossed, I shall be making it to the start and, hopefully, the finish.

"Some people are saying that I might still manage around four hours, but I'm not so confident. I think I'll be over four hours - maybe just under four-and-a-half."

Cambridge Harrier John Murphy, 50, of Foots Cray Road, Eltham, has also had niggling complaints likely to affect even how he paces himself this weekend.

He said: "My preparation has been a case of damage limitation but the important thing is that it's supposed to be fun and there's no point going hell bent for leather if you are going to knacker yourself."

Murphy's son, Jack, 23, has had different obstacles to hurdle. With a day job on a North Sea oil rig taking exercise is rather tricky.

He said: "Most rigs have got a little gym, so it's not too bad. It's only a treadmill, but you can keep your fitness ticking over.

I've had to force myself to go in the gym while everyone else is staying in and watching a film after a shift.

"Hopefully, I can get about three hours 45 minutes but anything under four hours will be good for me as a first time. I'm just curious to see how my body can cope with it."

If you would like further information on these athletes' chosen charities or to donate, see the following websites: www.justgiving.com/vickiegoodchild (Vickie Goodchild), www.justgiving.com/dolly2008 (Lisa Campbell), www.justgiving.com/stephaniewood123 (Stephanie Wood) or www.justgiving.com/marathon08 (Jack Murphy).

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