AMMF & The London Marathon

AMMF is a Silver Bond holder with the Virgin London Marathon, which sounds good, but actually means we have just one guaranteed place every five years! So, each year we need runners who are successful in the ballot to come forward to run and fundraise for AMMF in one of the biggest and most important fundraising events of the year.

In 2011, eight of our supporters entered the ballot, but only one was allocated a place – Lisa Smith. Desperate times, and for a while it looked like Lisa would be fairly lonely out there – and then three members of the Braintree & District Athletics Club stepped up to the plate, Paul Miller, Lee Gardham and Gavin Allen, and Chris Allum also managed to get a place from his local running club. Team AMMF was in business!

With the months of preparation over, and despite the forecast, 22nd April dawned bright and clear, near perfect conditions. The five members of Team AMMF were toned, honed and ready to run!

All our runners completed the course, Chris’s knees (which he had been worried about) held out, but disaster struck Lisa at mile three when she slipped and fell on a water bottle that someone had carelessly discarded right in front of her. She carried on running through the pain of a badly injured ankle until mile 16, but then was forced to walk to the finish line – she was very disappointed that this added an hour to her target time but we think it was incredible that she managed to carry on and finish!

For each of our runners it was an incredible experience, but Chris Allum had very special reasons for taking part, and for supporting AMMF, as he explains:

“Running the London Marathon has always been a lifelong ambition of mine and since watching the great event on the television when I was a youngster it is something that one day I dreamt of achieving. All my life I have been a keen sportsman, and football has been my main sport. However in the last 5 years I have struggled greatly with injury and in particular tendonitis in both knees. The injuries made me put off entering the Marathon … until in November 2009 my Dad, Charlie Allum, fell ill with cholangiocarcinoma and I really wanted to do something to support both him and a cancer charity (we discovered AMMF early in 2010). I was unsuccessful twice in the public ballot and then, finally, I gained a place through a local running club.

Dad battled cancer bravely and this gave me great strength and determination to complete this challenge as I knew that anything I was suffering was only a fraction compared to what he went through. The support I received from my family, friends and AMMF since starting my challenge has been unbelievable, and this has no more been demonstrated in the level of donations and sponsorship that I have received. I believe that this sums up how well thought of both Dad and our family are.

Running the marathon has not brought my Dad back, but what it has done is give me a fantastic focus at a time of my life that has been incredibly difficult for me. Now I look back I am extremely proud of my achievement, so would I do the marathon again … maybe not next year as I’m hoping to finally have surgery on my knee, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out in the future as I have dreams to get under that magical 4 hour mark!”

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for 2014, Chris!

Team AMMF’s official times:

Gavin and Lee were 1st and 2nd home for Team AMMF – Gavin’s time means a guaranteed place for the 2013 London Marathon, and he immediately said he will be running it for AMMF!

Third man home for Team AMMF – was it easier than organising events for the Braintree & District Athletics Club, Paul?

Chris – quietly pleased to have a achieved his lifetime ambition, and to have honoured his Dad’s memory in doing this …

Lisa with her medal – and no one deserved that medal more!

With sponsorship continuing to come in, the total raised by runners is currently just over an amazing £4,000.00.

Well done to Team AMMF’s Fantastic Five – Chris, Gavin, Paul, Lee and Lisa – for taking on this huge commitment, and well and truly doing AMMF proud!