Inspiring tales of the long-distance runners

It's less than two weeks until the London Marathon. Here six entrants reveal their very different reasons for taking on such a gruelling challenge.

It's the final push, as dedicated runners gear up to take on the Flora London Marathon a week on Sunday. They have been pounding the pavements for months, honing their bodies and improving their endurance and, on 26 April, nearly 36,000 of them will turn up to run the 26.2 mile route around the city – raising £46.7 million for charity in the process. The race attracts participants from all over the glove, aged 18 to 81. This year around 9,000 of them are Londoners, including the Evening Standard's own deputy sports editor, Steve Cording, and the marathon's oldest female runner, 80-yar-old Doreen Offredi from Wimbledon. Each runner has his or her own reason for entering the race – here are just a few of their stories. (excerpt)



Running for: CRY, Cardiac Risk in the Young

Experience: None.

How it started: "My sister, Rachel, ran her first marathon last year. As she crossed the line I told my boyfriend, Si, that I thought I would like to attempt it too. Little did I know that a few months later he would die suddenly from heart failure and that a year later I would be running in his memory."

Training regime: Started in December. Runs between four and 18 miles, five times a week, plus some swimming and cross-training.

Why I'm running: "Si was healthy, fit and young – and we will never know for certain why his heart suddenly stopped. Twelve people under 30 die every week from sudden adult death syndrome. CRY informs people about the risks and campaigns for screening in healthy young men – the group it affects most. It also offers support to people like me and Simon's family, who have suffered bereavements."

Goal: "Anything under five hours. I'll be happy just to get through it without having to walk."