Whittingham first timers complete London Marathon

Michael Dunne pictured after competing in the London Marathon
Michael Dunne pictured after competing in the London Marathon

A 25-year-old from Whittingham who only took up running seriously a year ago and a mother of three from the same village have both completed the London Marathon for the first time and Longridge’s chocolate brownie queen who was running the marathon for the fourth time, has broken her previous record.

Twenty-five-year old Michael Dunne, who grew up on Cumeragh Lane, attending Goosnargh Oliverson’s Primary School and Broughton Business and Enterprise College, before doing A-levels at Runshaw College and going on to read maths at Oxford University where he is now studying for a Ph.D in biology, says he took up running 12 months ago give himself a goal.

Justine Forrest and Sharon ...... with their medals after completing the London Marathon.

Justine Forrest and Sharon ...... with their medals after completing the London Marathon.

Michael managed to complete the marathon in three hours, 50 minutes and 35 seconds and was cheered along the way by his sister Anna, and mother, Joan.

Running to raise money for the Neuro Foundation which researches into neurofibromatosis and provides support for sufferers of the condition, Michael has raised more than £1200 for the charity to date.

Michael described the marathon as “pretty tough,” adding: “It was my first marathon and even though I’d been training for a few months the last eight miles or so were a bit of a shock! I was happy to get under four hours though.

“I did couch-to-5k a couple of years ago, and after completing it pretty much went back to the couch.

“Last April I decided to give it a proper go.”

It was also, says Michael, an important goal, as he had never been interested in sport throughout school, college and university.

When asked if he would consider completing any more marathons, he added: “We’ll see, ask me again once I’ve re-learned how to use stairs.”

Longridge’s chocolate brownie queen and mother of three Justine Forrest was running her fourth London Marathon with friend Sharron Worthington from Whittingham, who she met at Longridge’s Community Gym at the Civic Hall, and Justine broke her personal best.

She said: “We had a fabulous weekend. I wasn’t well in the run up to it. I was working away in South Wales and I contracted a blood infection through a burn being a chef. They wanted to admit me at the hospital so they could treat it, but I refused because I was doing the marathon. So they sent me back to work on double strength penicillin and antibiotics and pain relief. So on the day I was drugged up and not feeling so good.”

But she added: “Anyways, couldn’t have done me any harm as I did a personal best of five hours, 56 minutes. And once again I ran every inch without stopping. I even took 25 minutes off last year’s time. I logged all the way through too, to show people that virtually anyone can do it if I can. I’ve raised well over £500 for my charity Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and I’d like to thank everyone for their sponsorships and support.”

“Sharron did really well too, her time was six hours, 23 minutes and she’s raised more than £1000 for her cancer charity. Sharron didn’t enjoy the experience as much as me and says it’s something she can now cross off her bucket list, but she won’t be doing it again. As for me - bring on 2016. I will definitely be at the starting line for my fifth London Marathon. Next up for my charity fundraising this year is the Great North Swim in Lake Windermere in June.”