London Marathon: runners and riders hoping to stay the trip

 By Jon Lees and Lewis Porteous 7:16PM 22 APR 2017 

Racing will be strongly represented on Sunday when a number of figures take to the capital’s streets to run the Virgin Money London Marathon.

They aim to raise tens of thousands of pounds for good causes as they attempt to complete the 26.2 mile course from Blackheath to the Mall. Here are just some of the hopefuls.

Cowell looking fit and well

Despite vowing “never again” after completing his first London Marathon in 2014, Newmarket trainer Robert Cowell heads to post on Sunday in peak condition, having shed three stone during his training.

Famed for his handling of sprinters, Cowell admits he was too exuberant in the early stages of the race three years ago and will be running to get the trip this time around. 

“The ambition is to start with a smile on my face and end with a smile on my face,” said Cowell. “I’ve done a fair bit of training, have done myself the world of good and feel in good shape.

“The last eight or nine miles was excruciating last time but myself and Andrew Balding went off a bit quick and didn’t stay the trip at all. I did it in 4hrs 36min and if I was to do it around the same time, that would be fantastic.”

Running alongside sister-in-law Suzannah Roach, avid rugby fan Cowell has already raised close to £4,000 for the RFU Injured Players Foundation and can be supported at

Blowes bids to make record bids

Among the wackier runners will be Ben Blowes, who will attempt to get in the Guinness Book of Records by running the fastest marathon carrying a household appliance.

Blowes, who lives in Newmarket and a member of a nine-strong team put together by Racing Welfare, has to beat six hours carrying a 25kg appliance.

He said: “I’m not directly involved in racing, but living in Newmarket I have lots of friends involved in the industry and it’s great to support a charity that can give something back.”

Two of the charity’s runners are racecourse groundsmen, with Fontwell’s Darrin Lenharth and Sam Butler Spelzini from Huntingdon taking up the challenge.

Lenharth, who took up running to lose weight, said: “Two years ago I made the conscious decision to change my lifestyle. I was 16 stone and in fear of my health – I now weigh nine and a half stone. I now have the running bug and the marathon was on my ‘bucket list’.

Also running for Racing Welfare are Rob Hezel, chief executive of the Racing Foundation, Fergal O’Brien’s head lad Kevin Brown and Megan Hurst, who is head girl to Robin Dickin.

The team also includes Jane Petrucci, a director at Body Plan Fitness in Fordham, just outside of Newmarket, which has a fundraising target of £29,000, of which £24,000 has so far been raised. 

We’ll all be cheering on Post man Cobb

The Racing Post’s associate editor John Cobb is hoping to stay the trip on his first attempt as he raises funds for St Mungo’s, the charity for the homeless that provides a bed and support to more than 2,600 people every night.    

Already well on his way to £6,000, Cobb said: “I’ve had lots of helpful suggestions about how I could improve my performance but not even Robbie Power could get me to quicken in a finish and a a better incentive is the cause I’m running for.”

He can be supported at

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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