Our London Marathon runners 2024

Posted on 21/03/2024

Our London Marathon runners 2024

This April, six wonderful souls will be running the London Marathon to fundraise for us. We caught up with them to find out what their motivations are for running on behalf of World Horse Welfare and how their training is going with one month to go until the big day.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Shawn, Val, David, Lauren, Nick and Simon for tackling this epic event and wish them the very best of luck with their training and for the day of the run itself.

Shawn Overall

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m 35 years old and live in Norwich with my fiancé Becky and our three children: Dougie, Teddy and Daphne. I have always enjoyed sport, I’ve played football since I was a young child and competed in National Level Boxing until the age of 18.

Have you always been interested in running?

I’ve always loved running and it’s always been an integral part of my training for sports, but I have never challenged myself to complete a marathon until now! I am really looking forward to the challenge and pushing myself to my limit!

What is your motivation for running for World Horse Welfare?

I decided to run for World Horse Welfare because my children love horses. Their auntie rehomed World Horse Welfare Sinbad 18 years ago and he is their favourite! Sinbad is a much-loved member of the family and the children love nothing more than to brush him, learn how to care for him, ride him and to give him treats! I know first-hand the crucial work that World Horse Welfare do, in this country and abroad, so wanted to support their incredible work, allowing horses like Sinbad to have a second chance!

Training has been going really well! I’ve completed several half marathons, and my body is getting used to running long distances. I work offshore on an oil rig, so I’ve completed some of my training in Norfolk, Aberdeen and even the middle of the North Sea!

Val Cumberpatch

Have you always been interested in running?

I am 66 years old and I first started running at my local running club. I only went along to keep a friend company on the first day of their ‘beginners’ course. Seventeen years later, I have completed so many 5ks, 10ks, half marathons and marathons I’ve lost count, so I guess I must have caught the bug that night! I have always wanted to run the London Marathon (before I can’t) and have entered the ballot several times but never got in. It really is a once in a lifetime for me.

What is your motivation for running for World Horse Welfare?

Until recently my working life was with horses, I had my own livery yard and taught dressage up to advanced level. I trained and qualified as a British Horse Society Instructor after leaving school and also studied for a BSc in Equine Science. My active equine working life spanned over 40 years but these days I work part time for The Fell Pony Society based in the heart of the Fells in Appleby.

Having dedicated almost my entire adult life to working with, and caring for, horses I am still passionate about horse and pony welfare. If I can make a small contribution towards education or rescue, then all those miles jogging round in the rain and wind will be worth it.

How is training going ahead of the big day?

Training on and around the Lakeland Fells is a challenge to say the least! Nowhere is flat for more than 100m at a time so I often drive a 40-mile round trip to use a running track just to give myself a break from the unforgiving hilly terrain! If London is flat, it will be a joy!

Although I count myself as an experienced runner, and ran a half marathon in October last year, I have actually gone back to basics with a ‘Couch to Marathon’ plan I found online. I must say it’s been rather nice to start off an entire ‘from scratch’ plan. The first six weeks were easy-peasy but I know from past experience what is coming down the tracks! Don’t let anyone tell you any different – it’s hard!!

David Banfield

Have you always been interested in running?

I am 61 and have run for pleasure most of my adult life. I last ran the London Marathon nearly 20 years ago, quickly followed by the New York Marathon later that same year. I hadn’t considered another marathon until I met Simon Brown who is also running for World Horse Welfare. The result being that I am now running again and aching pretty much everywhere.

What is your motivation for running for World Horse Welfare?

I have been around horses for a long time, and I have chosen to run for World Horse Welfare as it’s a charity we have been involved with as a family for years. With my wife and daughter both being competitive with their own horse and well known in eventing circles, together with friends being patrons, it seemed an obvious choice.

How is training going ahead of the big day?

Training has been going well with lots of 10k and 15k runs around the Surrey hills, the trick is not to let the hills get the better of you. I have had a few aches and pains, so I signed up for a Wim Hof breathing and cold-water session. The ice bath was surprisingly nice and quickly took your mind off everything else.

Last Sunday morning everything felt great but that all changed during a half marathon at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, just outside Portsmouth. The rain was heavy, the mud was deep and relentless and there were never-ending hills. After a gruelling two and a half hours I felt my training was complete for the week. I have a long run planned over Easter and then hope to coast to the start line on the 21 April.

Lauren Davenport

What is your motivation for running for World Horse Welfare?

I wanted to run for World Horse Welfare as horses are a huge part of my life. I first started riding when I had a lesson for my seventh birthday and haven’t stopped since. I’m sure it’s my mum’s biggest regret as I don’t think you could pick a more expensive hobby!

Since I left school, I’ve worked with horses in riding schools and livery yards and completed my BHS exams. I’m currently a PA/Groom and Instructor all to fund my horse, who I enjoy mainly showjumping.

Have you ever run a marathon before?

I’ve never run a marathon before but have always wanted to do London as I enjoy running and I think it will be an amazing experience. I don’t want to jinx it, but recently training has been going great and I am on track to hopefully complete a sub 4-hour marathon!

Nick Grice

I am 19 years old and horse riding and running are my two big passions which makes running the London Marathon for World Horse Welfare a dream combination.

Have you always been interested in running?

I only picked up running during the pandemic as a means of keeping mentally and physically healthy. I did my first marathon in October 2021 just a month and a half after turning 18. I then went on to attempt Manchester where I ended up pulling out halfway with a major foot injury. I knew I had to go back and conquer the marathon distance so the only place to do so was in London.

What is your motivation for running for World Horse Welfare?

I own two horses and have been around horses learning to ride and all sorts from the age of seven.

Running for horses in need is extra special to me as when my horse Henry first arrived with us he was very head shy and was showing many signs of having been in an abusive home. While we were never certain about this, his trust in humans was substantially low. Over the course of three years, my mum and I have built his trust up and he’s now a gentle giant at 17 hands.

How is training going ahead of the big day?

So far, training is going steadily. I’m not in the fitness and shape I’d like to be in currently. However, off the back of my injury in Manchester I came back to running too quick and too fast and set myself back again. So now I’m finally on the road back, I started a training block from 1st of January.

Simon Brown

Have you always been interested in running?

This will be my first ever marathon, so it’s all very exciting! My running story began only recently in November 2022 at 52 years young, running my first tentative 5K dressed in an oversized Santa Claus outfit, around a freezing park in Guildford, Surrey, and I loved it!

Since then, I’ve been hooked. I now regularly participate in various trail and running road events and have joined several local running groups. The London Marathon will be a challenge and one I’m very much looking forward to.

What does it feel like to be running the London Marathon for World Horse Welfare?

I’m proud to be running the 2024 London Marathon in aid of World Horse Welfare and the important work you do. To participate in the London Marathon is a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list opportunity for me, and for me to raise money along the way for such a worthy charity is fantastic.

If our six London Marathon runners have inspired you to fundraise for us, please visit our Fundraising page to find out how you can get involved. You could climb Kilimanjaro, skydive, run a Marathon or host your own event at any time of the year.

All of our wonderful fundraisers ensure we can work across the full spectrum of the horse world in the UK and around the world to improve welfare and the horse-human relationship.

Please help stop the suffering

Will you donate today to provide urgent care for horses like Seamus?

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