Introducing our London Marathon winners
The countdown for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon is on, where more than 40,000 runners will run with pride as they cover 26.2 miles of London on Sunday 28 April.
London Pride is the official beer sponsor of the London Marathon for the 13th year running. Each year we give away a small number of places to keen runners who missed out on the ballot.
In January we ran a competition for entrants to win a place in London Pride’s team, asking entrants to tell us what makes them run with pride.
We received thousands of entries, and it’s with great pride that we introduce our five winners.
Steven Gibson, Hertfordshire
Steven has run two marathons before and has always wanted to run the London Marathon. He has entered the London Marathon ballot many times, but due to the popularity of the race he hadn’t managed to get a place – until this year!
Steven said his feelings of excitement at winning a place with London Pride’s team were quickly followed by the realisation that he’d better start training for it, which brought the difficult task of balancing training with life.
As his training progresses he said he is both nervous and excited for race day.
“I'm looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere on race day – I know that London is one of the best supported marathons anywhere in the world and having spoken to friends and colleagues that have run the marathon previously, they have said that the crowds all of the way around the course are fantastic,” Steven said.
Jade Rolph, Cambridge
Jade had always thought about running a marathon but never took the plunge. When she found out the chosen charity for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon was Dementia Revolution, she knew this was her year to enter.
“My mum died of Alzheimer's disease so it's a cause that I'm very passionate about,” Jade explained.
“I decided that if I was going to run one marathon in my lifetime it should be London in 2019. I applied for places everywhere and against all odds London Pride came through! I've been fundraising, and I've raised £1,700 so far.”
You can donate to Jane’s fundraising page here.
Ed Hampton-Matthews, London
Ed started running 18 months ago and within that time he’s already run two half marathons. He was looking for a new challenge in 2019 and having not been successful in the London Marathon’s ballot, he couldn’t believe his luck winning a spot in London Pride’s team.
“I was over the moon and excited to get going with training. I have heard that the crowds are amazing, and they really carry you along the course, so I am excited to experience this. The London marathon is such a prestigious race – it will be great to be a part of the action.”
Ed said training has been tough, but also rewarding.
“Trying to fit in three or four runs a week of different lengths is quite time consuming, but it’s also great fun. I think the sheer distance of the event will be the biggest challenge for me, having never run that far before.”
Andy McDonald, England
Andy entered to win a place in the London Marathon to ‘inspire and achieve’. He wanted to show his Army cadets that they can do anything they put their mind to with commitment and hard work.
“When I found out I’d won I couldn’t wait to tell everyone, including my cadets. I’m still buzzing now and can’t wait for the day, especially as it’s my 51st Birthday – I couldn’t ask for a better present.”
Andy said the biggest challenge has been fitting in his training while working more than 60 hours a week, but he’s determined.
“Our moto is ‘inspire to achieve’ so hopefully that’s what I’ll do by running the greatest marathon in the world,” he said.
“The picture on my mobile phone is of the London Marathon and it makes me remember how lucky I am to be in this position. I really can’t thank London Pride enough.”
Beata Mihaly, London
Beata’s passion for running started three years ago when she was experiencing anxiety and depression. She tried exercising to help improve her mental health, and she’s been running ever since.
“I love to be outdoors so running was an obvious choice. I’ve never run a marathon before, but I’ve taken part in races and I ran my first half marathon last summer when I got a bit lost at a trail race and ended up running more than 22km instead of the 16km I was meant to!”
Beata entered the London Marathon ballot in 2018 but didn’t manage to get a place. She said she was thrilled to have won a place with London Pride.
“When I found out I was so happy and excited – also a bit scared, too. I’m looking forward to the race and proving to myself that I can do it.”
Oliver Murray, London
When Oliver was told he won a place in the London Marathon with London Pride, he thought he was being phished. After he confirmed his place he couldn’t believe his luck.
“It didn’t sound right a beer company giving places for the marathon, but most runners I know like a few beers, so I guess it makes sense!”
Oliver’s first marathon was in 2018 when he ran in the Thames Meander in London alongside 250 people – a few less than the 40,000 expected at the London Marathon this year.
When asked what the biggest challenge has been during his training, Oliver said keeping motivated and preventing injury were at the top of the list.
“It does get a bit boring running on dark, cold and wet winter nights, but the crowds and atmosphere on race day will be worth it.”
Clare Thomas, Hertfordshire
Clare entered the ballot five times and didn’t manage to get a place. She ran in the London Marathon for a charity last year, but it brought a lot of pressure to finish within a certain time, which meant she missed out on the fun aspects of the race.
“I wanted to have the chance to take part and be able to enjoy the training without the distraction of fundraising. When London Pride said I’d won I felt as though I’d won the lottery! I could not believe my luck,” said Clare.
“I’m looking forward to the crowds, the noise, the beautiful city and, of course, the finish line and medal!”
Get ready for the London Marathon
Whether you’re running the marathon or going to show your support, many Fuller’s pubs are situated nearby and are taking bookings for breakfast, lunch or dinner on race day.
Find a marathon pub for race day and book your table early to guarantee your spot: The best pubs along the London Marathon route.
Click here to find a marathon pub.