Running a Marathon takes immense commitment. Fundraising for a Charity takes real dedication. Add a huge splash of enthusiasm to the mix and you have TEAM VARIETY 2013 – our fantastic team of 20 wonderful fundraisers who took on the world famous 26.2 mile route around London with commitment, dedication and enthusiasm by the bucket load.

After the shocking events in Boston, the lead up to London was clouded ever so slightly by an air of nervousness and tightened security. BUT in true British style, when Marathon day arrived, everyone was out in force to show a united front, to say WE WILL NOT BE STOPPED. And boy, did London deliver…the atmosphere was electric!

After the silence in memory of those injured in Boston, the thousands of runners were off and our Variety cheerers were poised to scream, shout and clap Team Variety towards the finish line.

Spectators don’t train for Marathon day but there is most certainly effort required: your hands tingle from clapping, your voice is strained from cheering on the runners…and don’t forget the observation skills needed. Spotting a charity vest in a crowd of runners takes skill. Waves and waves of runners race past you, becoming a blur of colours. But when you spot the red and white checks powering, tottering or veering towards you, your spirits are lifted and everyone is united in encouragement as the runner catches your eye, smiles and waves. From being there myself in 2012, I know it’s a better fuel than any energy drink you’ll have that day!!

The beautiful Miss England, Charlotte Holmes joined Team Variety this year and vowed to don her crown and sash for the final leg of the race if she reached her target….which, of course she did, looking fabulous as she crossed the finishing line. Our runners all posted admirable times this year. Some were aiming for a PB’s, some had run many Marathons before, some were suffering niggling injuries and others just wanted to get from start to finish without too much suffering…whatever their time!

Team Variety raised a phenomenal amount of money through sponsorship and donations, because that’s the other thing about a Marathon – commitment, dedication and enthusiasm to fundraising. As with commitment to training plans, participants need to get out there and persuade friends, family, colleagues and even strangers to part with their hard earned cash. Team Variety runners excelled themselves with everyone smashing their target!!! It is the dedication and enthusiasm of people like this who enable us to continue our important work helping disadvantaged and disabled children all over the UK!!

To go some way to soothing the pain after all their hard work, we held a small ‘recovery’ party at the RAC Club on Pall Mall, offering restorative refreshment, well-deserved massages, hot showers and comfy seats. We would like to sincerely thank our courageous runners and their hugely supportive friends and families. Without this network of support – friends who’ve had to put up with hours of ‘marathon chat’; moans about injuries and running in the cold, dark winter months; partners cooking endless pasta dinners and caving in to the demands of the strict ‘running diet’ – these fantastic men and women could not have run for Variety, the Children’s Charity.

Our runners completed those 26.2 miles, all with SMILES on their faces.

Our runners made their family, friends and all of the Variety cheering point supporters, SMILE. Our runners raised money to make sure hundreds of children and young people will also have SMILES on their faces.

We are all extremely PROUD and GRATEFUL that you ran for Team Variety – THANK YOU for your commitment, dedication and enthusiasm!