London Marathon 2013 Runners

16 April 2013 16:00

In the Virgin London Marathon 2013 we have a fantastic team of runners all taking part to raise money for Blind Veterans UK. Find out more about our members taking part plus celebrity participants.

Billy Drinkwater

28 year old Billy Drinkwater was serving in the Royal Anglian Regiment in Afghanistan when he was blown up by an IED on 31st January 2010. The explosion resulted in Billy suffering traumatic sight loss. This will be his first London Marathon.

Billy said: "Training is going well. I'm running with my guide and long time friend Michelle Sheridan who I did the two half marathons with. Last year we made a training schedule and the plan was to have run for 20 miles by March, but we'd smashed that by 10th January when we ran for 20 miles. We haven't set a time to finish in, but we will do our best to complete the marathon in a respectable time. It's important to do this to raise money for Blind Veterans UK, as they have given me so much since I was wounded in the form of training, hope and self belief."

Billy's running partner Michelle Sheridan, a Payroll & Billing Service Team Leader at Swift Worldwide Resources, said: "Billy and I have been friends for years as he's a friend of my cousin Mark and we would meet at Mark's house. When we heard that Billy had been injured it was obviously a massive shock and we were very worried about his welfare. When I saw Billy for the first time after Afghanistan I didn't quite know what to expect, but it was obvious that he was the same old Billy, as soon we were laughing and joking about old times. Billy is not self-pitying and is always determined to overcome any obstacle that is thrown at him. It's great running with Billy and this is also my first full marathon and so far training is going well. We are in a good routine and we are sticking to our training plans."

Thea Davies Mud Run

30 year old Thea Davies' life changed forever on 26th May 2012 when her partner - 29 year old Captain Stephen Healey of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, died in action in Afghanistan. While Thea would be forgiven for immersing herself in grief, she has instead chosen to honour Captain Healey's memory by undertaking a 415 mile, year-long running challenge to raise funds for his favourite charity - Blind Veterans UK. She chose the figure of 415 as Cpt Healey was the 415th fallen soldier. This is her first London Marathon, but the tenth running event she has participated in since starting her challenge. Find out more about Thea's 415 mile challenge.

Mike Scholes and Chris Merrylees

When 59 year old former member of the Navy's Fleet Air Arm, Mike Scholes lost his sight due to Leber's optic neuropathy it did not prevent him from pursuing his great love of running. And this year he was feeling very confident about getting a better than ever time in the London Marathon this year until his running guide had to withdraw due to injury just one month before the marathon! That's when Blind Veterans UK and Twitter came to the rescue. We knew it wouldn't be easy to find a guide as Mike is extremely fast and needed someone who could do the Marathon in less than 3 hours, but we put the call out to our Twitter followers.

Within just an hour 35 year old Chris Merrylees stepped up via Twitter to offer himself as Mike's guide. He has never guided a blind runner before but can match Mike in stamina.

Chris says: I had only pulled out of the Marathon 2 days previous, for purely selfish reasons of not getting a time I was after seemed a bit daft, the London Marathon is a great event with the crowds. Being able to offer support to someone else is a great feeling, I'm just as excited and apprehensive as I would be if I was aiming for my own time. I've spoke with Mike last week to go through a few things with training and also the support and guidance Mike is looking for. Being able to give something back to the sport I enjoy so much is another reason.

Charlene Guy of BFBS Radio

30 year old Charlene Guy is a popular presenter on BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) Radio. She has presented shows in Gibraltar, Germany, Bosnia, Falklands and Afghanistan, and now presents in the UK on the BFBS DAB Network Drive Time show. Charlene is running the London Marathon for Blind Veterans UK, which is one of the BFBS Big Salute Charities.