Find out who’s taking on the London Marathon challenge

12-308     Runner Steve Lang and his nephews Lewis 10, and Callum Hicks 14, at their home in Boxted Road, Hemel Hempstead.
12-308 Runner Steve Lang and his nephews Lewis 10, and Callum Hicks 14, at their home in Boxted Road, Hemel Hempstead.

Here’s our round-up of local runners who are taking part in the famous challenge this Sunday to rake in cash for good causes.

>The dad of a soldier killed in Afghanistan has raised more than £2,000 so far ahead of his second London Marathon.

Tyrell Diaz Stevens with daughter Ashley, four.

Tyrell Diaz Stevens with daughter Ashley, four.

Steve Barnsdale, of Parsonage Close in Tring, is raising money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity in memory of his son David, who was killed by a roadside bomb in October 2010.

Last year, he became the national charity’s biggest ever individual fundraiser with £15,000.

Sponsor him at www.justgiving.com/steve-barnsdale3

>Charity worker Philip Kojcinovic will be running for the good cause he works for.

12-179              Caroline Crozier is running a marathon for Westfield first School, Berkhamsted.

12-179 Caroline Crozier is running a marathon for Westfield first School, Berkhamsted.

The 50-year-old retail manager at Keech Hospice Care has seen first hand the fantastic work the hospice provides and decided to put on his running shoes.

Philip, of Hemel Hempstead, has already had one crack at a marathon, but a bad knee injury meant he didn’t reach the finish line.

This year he is determined to make it. He said: “While working at the hospice and at the Keech shops I have been able to see first hand the dedication and support offered. All of the services are provided free of charge, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“To keep these services running, Keech relies on the communities it serves to raise 75 per cent of its funds.

“The marathon is going to be a real challenge, especially after my knee injury but I am determined to reach the finish line.”

Support Philip at www.justgiving.com/Philip-Kojcinovic-VLM

>Andrew Harley of Box Lane, Hemel Hempstead and Theresa Sparkes from Chaulden are both raising funds for research into the causes and treatments of childhood cancer.

They are part of the Mr Men and Little Miss supporting Children With Cancer UK.

Andrew, human resources director for Ladbrokes, has spent months preparing for the big day and is trying to raise £10,000.

He is running in support of Kings Langley friend Claire Rumble, whose young son Louis has leukaemia.

Theresa, who will be 47 on the day of the run, has set a fundraising target of £2,000.

Find out more at www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk

>After a long wait Mary Murray will be at the starting line of the London Marathon this weekend.

The keen runner, of Westfield Road, Berkhamsted, has been trying for a ballot place for 10 years and will be raising funds for The Pepper Foundation.

Her sister Charlotte has been a backing singer at the charity’s annual fundraiser – The Pepper Show – for six years so it made sense for her to back the cause.

Mary, 45, who works at Berkhamsted School, said: “I have trained hard for this day and I can’t wait for it to arrive after 10 years.

“I am sure that there will be parts of the run that will be challenging but knowing that I will be helping local children with life-threating or life-limiting illnesses will spur me on.”

To support Mary visit www.justgiving.com/Mary-Murray-Marathon.

>Steve Lang, manager of the U13 Blues team at Berkhamsted Raiders, is limbering up for the big day. It’s the 43-year-old’s first marathon and he is supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign – his nephews Callum and Lewis Hicks have the condition.

He has already raised £2,400 but has set himself a £3,000 target.

Steve, from Tortoiseshell Way, Berkhamsted, said: “They have had it all their lives and were born with it. It is a debilitating disease and progresses as they get older.

“Callum, who is 14, is wheelchair-confined and Lewis, 10, can walk a little but is pretty much wheelchair-bound.

“I have never run these sorts of distances before – but I do get a bit of muscle ache from using muscles I have never used before.

“Plus Callum and Lewis will be watching me on the big day – that will keep me going.”

Donate to Steve at www.justgiving.com/steve-lang

>Wayne Silk, 30, who comes from Castle Mead in Boxmoor, is running the London Marathon for The Hospice of St Francis.

He had six months of preparation under his belt before being sidelined by injury for a month, so even though he has just got back to pounding the pavements he thinks he will be OK.

Wayne, who now lives in Leighton Buzzard, said: “I first applied four years ago, mainly because I wanted to get fit, and kept applying until they let me in through the ballot.

“It’s been pretty hard going, but I have raise about £500 for a good cause.”

To donate to Wayne, go to www.justgiving.com/Wayne-Silk

>The director of The Berkhamsted Elite Tennis Academy is aiming to raise £2,000 for Leonard Cheshire Disability.

Tyrell Diaz Stevens, 30, who also lives in the town, was inspired to run by his sister-in-law, who has spinal muscular atrophy.

His chosen charity supports thousands of disabled people in the UK to help them cope.

He said: “I’m really excited. I’ve never run further than an hour at any one time, but I have always wanted to complete a marathon.

“It’s going to be a real challenge, but I’m determined to complete the course.”

Tyrell trains for six days each week and hopes to finish the race in under four hours.

Support him at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=TyrellDiazStevens

>Teacher Caroline Crozier, who works at Westfield First School in Durrants Lane, Berkhamsted, has raised more than £1,800 for Barnardo’s.

She has been getting in shape for the big day by following a book’s 16-week training programme to increase her mileage by 10 per cent each week.

She said: “I am looking forward to the marathon with some trepidation, but the training is going well.”

Students and parents helped her meet her fundraising target at its first auction of promises last month.

>Gade Valley Harriers has five of its team taking part in the London Marathon in aid of good causes.

Among them is Andy Newing who is taking part in his seventh marathon but this year he is doing it in memory of murdered 21-year-old Billy Dove. You can support him at www.justgiving.com/andy-newing

Other runners are Vince Ellerby, who is taking on the challenge in aid of Muscular Dystrophy (www.justgiving.com/vinceellerby), Martin Storrie and Jan Hudson for the Hospice of St Francis (www.justgiving.com/Martin-Jan), Stuart Linden in aid of International Needs (uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StuartLinden), and Andy Terry for the Make a Wish Foundation (www.justgiving.com/andrewterrylm).

The club also had three runners take part in the Brighton Marathon on Sunday. They were Paula Cook for the Billy Dove Foundation, Alex Bayliss for Scope and Susie Ivin for Harefield Hospital.

>A keen hockey player who volunteers with disabled children is ready to embark on her first full marathon in aid of charity.

Gemma Little of Belmont Road, Hemel Hempstead, is raising money for disabled children’s charity Whizzkids.

The 24-year-old has been running regularly, and recently participated in two half marathons, including one in Northampton.

She has also played for St Albans Hockey Club since she was 13.

Gemma said: “I should be fine, I know other people taking part but I want to set my own pace really so I’ll probably run alone.

“It is my first full marathon though so I’ll be happy to do it in anything under five hours!”

Gemma has a target of raising £1,600. To help her in her bid, visit www.justgiving.com/gemma-little

>Don’t forget to let us know how you get on this Sunday. Send reports and pictures to thegazette@jpress.co.uk