Marathon challenge is taken in their stride

General view of the start during the Virgin London Marathon in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 21, 2013. See PA Story ATHLETICS London. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.
General view of the start during the Virgin London Marathon in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 21, 2013. See PA Story ATHLETICS London. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

Runners from South Yorkshire have spoken of their pride after completing an emotional London Marathon.

Bomb attacks at the Boston Marathon in the USA last week saw security increased for the annual race in the capital.

But thankfully there was no repeat on Sunday, as 33,000 runners joined the elite athletes for a 30-second silence in memory of the Boston victims before setting off on the 26.2 mile challenge.

Among them were many from South Yorkshire, some taking part for the first time, and all raising money for charity.

Rob Haselgrove, from Bents Green, completed his first marathon in three hours and 43 minutes.

The 33-year-old, who works at the PDSA PetAid hospital in Sheffield, said: “I’m really pleased with my time, particularly because in training I could often get cramp at about 18 miles, but that didn’t happen on the day.

“The atmosphere there was absolutely phenomenal and it really does help push you around.”

Philip Williams, aged 34, from Dronfield, lost four stones in weight and gave up smoking in preparation for the race.

The dad-of-three, who finished the course in just under four hours, said: “It was absolutely amazing. The atmosphere of the event was just brilliant and it was so well supported and organised.”

Karen Birch, from Woodhouse, Sheffield, finished in five hours and 15 minutes.

She ran in memory of her cousin Dawn Wragg, who died from breast cancer in 2007, and in celebration of her mum Ann, who is in remission from the disease.

The 40-year-old, who was raising money for Breast Cancer Care, said: “There was so much encouragement from the crowd.”