Laura, Owyn & Sophie Run London Marathon for First Time

The London Marathon returned to its London course after 2 years of being run virtually because of Covid on Sunday and three local residents ran it for the first time.

Laura Healy (top left above) was running for SMA UK, a charity that supports people living with SMA a genetic condition which causes progressive muscle weakness which her niece has. Laura said, “On Sunday, despite not really being a ‘real’ runner, I ran (and walked). It was December 2021, when the SMA UK newsletter – which I subscribe to because my niece, Tilly, who suffers with SMA popped into my emails asking for people to run the 2022 marathon for them. Why not? I thought and replied saying I would do it. Months later, and really fed up of training in all weather, all around Henley on Thames, I was quickly learning marathons are hard work and started to doubt I had made the right decision, or if I could even complete the distance. However, it was all worth it. I have raised over £2000 for SMA UK and hope by running I have raised more awareness of this cruel disease, plus the day was incredible. I completed the marathon in 5 hours 57 mins, got overtaken by both the Gruffalo and a rhino, but I heard so many stories along the way, shared so many ‘high-fives’, ached and grumbled, smiled, and kept running most of the way. For a couple of miles, I met a fellow SMA runner, and we walked together and supported each other which was really special. Yes, it was tough, but I don’t regret my hasty email back in 2021 because it was amazing to be part of a day, in London, full of love, determination, support and bravery.”  Help Laura reach her target of £3,000 by donating at

Owyn Thatcher was due to run the virtual London Marathon last year but caught Covid at the time and had to pull out.  He was raising money for the charity Whizz-Kidz who provided Owyn’s brother, George with his first wheelchair who has cerebral palsy.  Leading up to the marathon, training was going well for Owyn but 2 weeks before he had a calf issue.  This was Owyn’s first marathon. He had run the Henley Half Marathon in 2017 with a time of around 1 hour 31 mins.    Owyn said, “I had long Covid for about 7 months but luckily it has all subsided now.  I was nervous about my calf but thankfully it held out. The biggest challenge on the day was battling the nerves/excitement. But I actually felt really fresh for the first 30k. The hardest part of the day was definitely from around 37-42k that took a lot of mental toughness to carry on. There were plenty of times I wanted to stop because my body just had nothing left to give.  I had around 12 family and friends, who came to support. They were all on or around the 23 mile mark to give me a little bit of a boost when I needed it most.  Owyn recorded a time of 3 hours 30 mins.  He added, “I was aiming for a sub 4 marathon. But as it was my first, I would have still been extremely happy with a finish. I was absolutely over the moon with my time. But upon reflection I’m a tad disappointed I didn’t manage to get sub 3.30. But that’s the competitive sports person in me speaking.  Owyn is in the ballot for the London Marathon again for next April and Berlin in September.  To donate to Owyn’s cause go to

Sophie Van Brugen was running for Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub South Oxfordshire after they stepped in to help her and her Mum Sue who was diagnosed with stage four metastic breast cancer in December 2019.  Her Dad after having a stroke in the summer of 2019 passed away at the end of January 2020.  Sophie said, “My poor Mum had to go in for emergency surgery the day after he died. She was allowed out of hospital on day release for my Dad’s funeral which was very emotional and the day after she moved in to live with me and my husband and our two young sons.  By August, Sue’s condition had worsened and she was experiencing increasing pain, with the cancer having spread to her liver and spine.  Sue’s condition began to deteriorate in September and the nurses from the Sue Ryder Hospice at Home team came every day to look after her as Sophie kept a bedside vigil.  Sophie said, “I could not have done it without them. There is just something about the Sue Ryder team and their training that just makes them incredibly special. I became very fond of all the nurses. Nothing was too much trouble for them.”

To say thank you and raise much-needed funds for the Sue Ryder team who cared for her mum in her final days Sophie signed up for her first-ever marathon.  Sophie explains, “I started 2022 with a resolution I kept entirely to myself – I wanted to run the London Marathon, but not just run it, do it with real purpose, in my Mum’s memory, for Sue Ryder.  The marathon falls just after the two year anniversary of her death so I felt determined to try and do something positive to mark it and I think she would have approved. So the first week of January this year I resolved to start my journey and I joined my local running group. The winter runs were dark, cold and sometimes very wet but I had a real sense of purpose. I started to get fitter and stronger both in body and mind and so I applied for my place to run for Sue Ryder.

Afterwards, Sophie said, “To run the London marathon for Sue Ryder in memory of my Mum was a complete honour. It was the most amazing experience and one I will never forget – from the supportive crowds, kindness of strangers and camaraderie amongst fellow runners. The decent weather helped and I didn’t ‘hit the wall’ that everyone kept warning me about, so I finished in 4 hours 33 which I’ve been told is respectable at my age!  My lovely husband and two sons came to support me which spurred me on. I’ve raised over £5k for Sue Ryder so I am thrilled.”

The link to Sophie’s fundraising page for Sue Ryder is here