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London Marathon 2023: New Forest runners posted impressive times and raised money for charity





Local runners were out in force at the London Marathon, with a host of impressive times posted and money raised for charity.

In action for Lymington Athletes was Valeria Sesto, running her 10th London Marathon.

She said: "Everything felt so different this time. When people asked me what I was aiming for, I had no idea, and it didn't matter. There were no agendas, no records to break, and no qualifying standards to reach.

"Being a 50-year-old lady is not for the faint-hearted. There are so many changes at this stage in life. Lots of physical changes, with hormones all over the place. Changes with children leaving home and us mums feeling a little redundant. Training can be challenging.

"But then, you end up lining up behind Mo Farah at the London Marathon, within the championship start – a real privilege!"

Sesto crossed the line at 2.57.58 and was third in her category. She added: "When I crossed the line, one of the girls I briefly saw at the pre-start tent did so too. We both started crying, and we both hugged. We knew what we had shared and how it felt, and we both made it around in less than three hours.

Valeria Sesto with Hordle's Kate Chapman, who is the London Marathon head of sustainability
Valeria Sesto with Hordle's Kate Chapman, who is the London Marathon head of sustainability

"And at the finish line was my friend Kate Chapman, head of sustainability for the London Marathon! And then my husband, Clive, who had been running around the course trying to keep up.

"It is so important to have the support of those who we love. These achievements would be meaningless if I didn't have my partner, family and friends to share them with."

Also running for Lymington Athletes was Jack Andrews, who was running for the British Heart Foundation after his son Oscar needed life-saving cardiac surgery aged just six months old.

Lymington Athletes’ Jack Andrews with his son Oscar
Lymington Athletes’ Jack Andrews with his son Oscar

Jack set a fundraising target of £2,500 for his first-ever road marathon, and he successfully juggled work, home life and training to cross the line in an impressive 04.08.45.

The New Forest Runners were the most represented local club. Member Jimmy Elenis (3.02.54) was delighted with his time after shaving five minutes of his previous marathon best.

New Forest Runners’ Jimmy Elenis
New Forest Runners’ Jimmy Elenis

Meanwhile, Rhona Copp (4.20.02) crossed the line 10 minutes better off than her Good For Age qualifying time, giving herself an excellent chance of automatic entry for next year, while Steve Moss (3.37.06), Alan Grout (3.55.18) and Gail Walters (3.36.31) also smashed their Good For Age qualifying times.

New Forest Runners’ Rod Harnett
New Forest Runners’ Rod Harnett

Rod Harnett (3.28.25) registered a new PB while coming home in under three hours and 30 minutes.

New Forest Runners’ Marvin Dudziec
New Forest Runners’ Marvin Dudziec

Katie Stride (5.15.44) raised over £1k for Southampton Hospitals Charity UK in her first marathon, and Marvin Dudziec (4.13.28) raised over £500 for the British Heart Foundation.

Other New Forest Runners' times included Emma Shepherd (3.48.54), Martin Baker (3.58.26), Matthew Fordham (4.09.33), Lorraine Hewett (5.18.08), and Jo Murphy (5.54.49).

Helen Lamb, Charles Fox, Francesca Musgrove, and Adie King after their virtual London Marathon
Helen Lamb, Charles Fox, Francesca Musgrove, and Adie King after their virtual London Marathon

Meanwhile, Helen Lamb (6.24.42) organised and ran a virtual London Marathon in the New Forest. She was joined by Francesca Musgrove (6.09.35), Adie King and Charles Fox (4:55), running to celebrate his 70th birthday, while Susan Berry (7.38.36) completed one by herself.



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