Two members of staff from Bridgnorth Endowed School went the full distance at the 2019 London Marathon, which took place in the capital last Sunday.
Minibus driver, Dana Power, and art teacher, Louise Rhodes, joined over 40,000 people to conquer the strenuous 26-mile run and raise millions of pounds for charity.
Dana, who ran for Asthma UK as Puff the Dragon, completed his ninth London Marathon in just under six hours, despite suffering from excruciating knee pain for the entire course.
Dana reports: “This was my 14th marathon and, due to a knee problem I developed during the last two months of training, it was certainly the most painful one I’ve ever done.”
“All the doctors advised me that the 15kg Puff costume was putting a lot of strain on my knees but I couldn’t desert him for the marathon.”
So, with his knee strapped up and plenty of Deep Heat applied, Dana set off, even keeping up with the great Sir Mo Farah for an impressive three seconds.
At the 12-mile point, Louise caught up with him on Tower Bridge, where he was stopped to give an interview to the BBC, before continuing with a difficult second half.
Dana comments: “I really enjoy running to raise money for Asthma UK and this year’s fundraising will exceed £2400, bringing the grand total to roughly £27K. It’s all down to the generosity of the Bridgnorth community for which I’m very grateful.”
Undeterred by his knee injury, Dana plans to run his 10th London Marathon next year and has already entered the ballot.
For Louise, it was her first marathon experience and, hoping for a time of between 5 and 5½ hours, she crossed the line in a fantastic 5 hours 9 minutes.
Louise said: “It was the most incredible day from start to finish. Waiting in the start zone was really nerve wracking but, once I got going, the crowds were amazing, constantly shouting out my name and encouraging me to carry on.”
Raising almost £3000 from online and cash donations, the aim was to buy a specialist all-terrain buggy for her two-year old nephew, William, who has severe intractable epilepsy and suffers hundreds of seizures every day.
When the going got tough Louise said the thought of all that William goes through was enough motivation to keep her going.
“The first half went well but by mile 20 I was exhausted and the prospect of another 6.2 miles was torture. However, I couldn’t give up and powered though tiredness and aching muscles thinking about my nephew to make sure I did the best I could.”
Spurred on by sheer determination, good training and mind over matter, she reached The Mall and found a burst of energy to finish well within her target time.
William is being fitted for his new buggy this week and Louise would like to thank the parents and staff who have shown support and kindly donated. Realising that anything is possible, she is now looking for her next big challenge.