Proud Bexley runners gear up for London Marathon

PUBLISHED: 12:13 18 April 2013 | UPDATED: 16:18 18 April 2013

Jade Behr and her partner James Vigour with a picture of her nan Doreen Wilson

Jade Behr and her partner James Vigour with a picture of her nan Doreen Wilson


Sunday’s London Marathon will be the culmination of months of preparation for tens of thousands for runners. We talked to four people from Bexley completing the gruelling 26.2 mile course to find out how they are feeling as the big day looms.

Simon StevensSimon Stevens

Jade Burr, 26, of Burr Close, Bexleyheath, is supporting Age UK in partnership with Youth Net, alongside her 28-year-old partner James Vigour.

“Last year I sat in St Thomas’ hospital with my nan Doreen Wilson and we watched the London Marathon runners speed past.

“She said we should run the marathon. I thought that was a crazy suggestion considering I couldn’t even run for a bus, but when she died last year following pneumonia and a range of other problems it seemed like the right thing.

“Training has gone better than I thought it would and we’ve made the £3,600 we set out to fundraise so we’re really looking forward to the day.

Tessa Youens with volunteers at EllenorLionsTessa Youens with volunteers at EllenorLions

“We chose Age UK because it’s crucial that more young people get involved in helping to look after older people – we’ll all age one day and we’ll appreciate it if someone does it for us. This is where Youth Net comes into it.

“My nan is my inspiration for running the marathon and after she became seriously ill and housebound I can see the impact a project such as this could have had on her quality of life.”

They are being sponsored by Welling Mobility, who provide mobility and disability products in Kent and south-east England.

To sponsor Jade visit

Sam BashamSam Basham

Simon Stevens, 47, from Bexleyheath, ran 2,012 miles in a mammoth charity challenge from August 2011 to August 2012

“This year I’ve set myself the equivalent of running more than four marathons in six weeks, including the London Marathon on Sunday.

“I’m supporting Macmillan Cancer Research because some really close friends have had cancer and the work Macmillan nurses did with them was first class.

“One of them, Kathy Greenwood, died of leukaemia earlier this month after a long battle and that’s knocked me for six a bit. But it’s made me more determined than ever to finish my challenge and I’ve promised myself I won’t walk no matter how tired I get.

“I ran the Brighton Marathon on Sunday and after the London version this weekend, I’ll be taking on the London to Brighton challenge at the end of May, which will see me run more than 62 miles in less than 24 hours.

“Last year I managed it in 22 and a half hours and I’m determined to beat that.

“I haven’t really set myself a fundraising target because I’ve done so many charity endeavours over the past few years it can get a bit tedious keeping asking people for money.

“But it’s for a great cause and anything people want to contribute will be much appreciated.”

To donate to Simon visit

EllenorLions communications officer Tessa Youens, 28, who lives in Queens Road, Welling, only found out she had a place in the London Marathon when one of the charity’s runners dropped out with an injury in January.

“Tony Saunders, whose little boy Oscar died of cancer after we cared for him, had been due to run it for us but when he picked up an injury we decided we’d draw his replacement out of a hat.

I drew the short straw but although the training has been tough in this terrible weather, I’ve actually enjoyed most of it.

I’m most looking forward to hearing the crowds cheer me on the day but most worried about how nervous I will be feeling.

I currently run a half marathon in under two hours so it would be amazing if I complete the marathon in around four and a half hours - the second half is always tough apparently.

We only receive a small amount of funding from the government so any fundraising we receive from people taking part in charity events is very welcome.

Our service is free for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families but it is not free to provide, costing £6 million a year.

The thought of that should help me get over the line and I’ve almost raised my target of £2,000 in an incredibly short space of time.”

To sponsor Tessa visit

Bexleyheath mum Sam Basham, 40, of Royal Oak Road, is running in support of The National Holiday Fund, a charity that takes disabled children on trips away.

“When I found out I’d got through the ballot for the London Marathon I wasn’t connected to a charity.

“As I was looking around I came across The National Holiday Fund because my father-in-law’s partner volunteers for them.

“They do some great work and these children have such hard lives, then they get to go Disneyland once a year – it’s magical. This is my first marathon but training for the big day has gone really well except for a foot injury I picked up in March which sidelined me for two weeks.

“I’ve kept to a strict training regime. I started properly after January 1, but I like to keep myself fit anyway and I’ve set myself a target of under five hours – I’d be happy with that.

“My aim is to raise anywhere between £500 and £1,000. As I didn’t sign up for a charitable reason I think that would be a good total.

“Hopefully my friends and family will be out in force on the day and that will help me over the line.”

To sponsor Sam email or visit to find out more about the charity

If you are running the marathon contact us at or tweet us @bexleytimes.

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