By Alex Melvin
Harrow Times, April 22, 2004 original
HARDY Harrovians of all ages took up the challenge of the London
Marathon on Sunday, braving the elements to clock up impressive
times and even more impressive charity hauls.
Nic Ford, a teacher
at Whitmore High School in South Harrow, completed the course
in 3hrs55. He said: "I was hoping for just under
3hrs45 but got a foot injury on the cobbles, and had to struggle
for the last four miles or so. Nevertheless, I am really pleased
to break four hours." He raised £2,700 for Leukaemia
Ronak Drowne, 27, of Hatch End, raised more than £2,000 for Cancer Research UK by finishing in just over
five hours. It was Ronak's maiden marathon but he now plans to
take on the New York event in November. He said: "I'm happy
I completed the course but it has left me in the sincerest pain.
It was absolutely exhilarating, and I think I gained about four
miles from the support of the crowd. I've proved to myself I can
cover the distance now so I'm trying to convince some friends to
run New York with me."
Piyush Gudka, 48, from Stanmore, led a group of Indian runners
and finished in just under 3hrs43. He was pleased to beat his teammates
despite being the oldest among them. He estimates his group
raised over £10,000 for their charities, Sewa International
and the Shishukunj Project. The other members of Piyush's
group to complete were: Kaushik Shah, 3:50; Amit Shah, 4:19; Neerav
4:22; Harish Shah,4:36; Jayshree Shah, 4:51; Romal Shah, 4:55;
Pravina Patel, 4:58; Amarjit Tanda, 5:12; Rasik Shah, 5:32; Anuj
Shah, 5:34; Sanjay Shah, 5:37; and Dinesh Gorasia, 5hrs40 Linza
Kerr, of Edgware, who ran the course in full Brownie uniform, crossed
the finish line in 4hrs30. But fitness instructor Linza, 27, was
a little disappointed. She said: "I was all set for a sub-four
hour time but with two miles to go I pulled a muscle in my leg.
I was gutted but the phenomenal support of the crowd spurred me
on to finish. They were all cheering 'Come on Brownie!'."
A team of 35
runners representing Norwood, the children and family services
charity based in Stanmore, raised £80,000. With
a best time of 3hrs35, the group boasted GMTV presenters Kate Garraway
and Clare Nasir; 63-year-old Flora Frank from Edgware, who has
nine grandchildren and this year completed her eleventh marathon;
and Norwood's head of marketing, William Jones. Ian Tate, the charity's
head of challenges, said: "Our runners have shown such an
massive amount of perseverance, dedication and courage by running
this year's London Marathon. I would like to say thank you on behalf
of the team at Norwood Challenges and all the people who will benefit
from the huge amount of money they have raised."