FOUR Dawlish runners are preparing to tackle the gruelling London Marathon this weekend.
The runners have been in training to pound the streets of the capital in aid of charity.
Laura Fuller is finally able to run in the marathon after disappointment in 2020 when the event was cancelled due to Covid.
Now, she is ‘proud’ to be raising money for the Dawlish charity Roots.
Laura, who is pictured with her children and greatest supporters Nieve and Ethan, said: ‘I am proud to be raising money for this fantastic local cause, they really offer a lifeline to so many families and people within the local community, services that wouldn’t exist without Roots dedicated work.
‘The only way I am staying motivated to complete those long runs, go out when I’m tired and it’s cold and raining is knowing that I can support others in our community through any money I am able to raise.’
Roots Community Enhancement was founded in 2018 and operates in Dawlish, Teignmouth and surrounding villages, offering free access to bereavement support, an anxiety cafe, toddler group, baby group with weighing, parent support, carer peer support and baby massage courses.
Laura explained: ‘Roots helps to empower people to explore paths of change, leading to more fulfilled lives where they feel connected, valued and more confident.’
A Roots spokesman said: ‘Laura is finally getting her chance to run the London Marathon and we are humbled and honoured to be chosen as her cause to support.’
Also running the prestigious event is Slimming World consultant Claire Hannaford.
Claire, who shed six and a half stone in weight just a few years ago, has been training, helped by husband Neil.
Claire, 47, who runs four Slimming World clubs, will be raising money for Cancer Research UK.
She is one of a team of 16 Slimming World entrants taking part in the 26 mile event.
The challenge is her latest feat since joining the slimming club and starting the Couch to 5k training programme.
Children Holly, 27, Harry, 25, Harvey, 23, Bailey 20 and 16-year-old Ellie are all supporting her.
Joining them on the route is 50-year-old Andrea Apps who has finally managed to get a place to run after 10 year of trying.
Andrea, who works for Barclays Bank, is raising money for the Force cancer charity in Exeter in memory of a close friend.
Andrea, who has lived in Dawlish for 30 years, got a place through the ballot system.
She said: ‘I lost a good friend to cancer and I wanted to raise money for a local charity.’
Her training has included running 23 miles to her husband’s work place in Exeter.
She said: ‘I am really nervous now but I have done half marathons and Park Runs.
‘Since my friend passed away, it’s been my ambition for 10 years to get to run in the London Marathon.’
Scott Andrews is another Dawlish runner taking part, raising money for Shelter.
Scott, 33, who runs a flooring company, was motivated to raise money for the charity after working with Teignbridge Council to provide accommodation for the homeless.
He too has tried for many years to get a place through the ballot system.
And having battled through serious knee injuries and surgery, he is now aiming to complete the course in about four hours.
Supported by wife Nejla and daughter Poppy, three, and Zara, two, Scott has already raised his target of £2,000 for Shelter.
He said: ‘Getting a place through the ballot is like gold dust.
‘I have worked for Teignbridge Council doing flooring for temporary homes and emergency accommodation and I know how quickly they need to be turned around to get homes ready.’
Scott has already got several half marathons under his belt but has had setbacks for reconstructive knee surgery and further treatment.
He said: ‘I have been training really hard, doing a half marathon in Bideford and I do the Teignmouth Park Runs regularly.'