Six women from South Holland and the Deepings are carrying a lifetime of good memories away from the record-breaking 2015 London Marathon on Sunday.
Sisters Zoe (24) and Hannah Rayner (26), along with their friend Kayleigh Wells (27), all from Spalding, Shara Jones (29) of Whaplode, Emma Scarborough (36) of Donington and Abi Schofield (24) of Market Deeping were among more than 38,000 runners to compete in the 26 miles and 365 yards event.
Zoe has raised about £2,660 so far for Marie Curie Cancer Care, Hannah has donations of more than £1,880 for Mind and Kayleigh has received at least £1,770 for Sense, while Shara is on course to raise £2,000 for Heart Research UK and Emma has been pledged at least £1,500 for Cancer Research UK.
Emma, who ran the course in four hours 46 minutes, said: “It was the best day of my life and absolutely beyond words.
“I can’t express how special the day was and I’d liken the whole experience to having a baby.
“The pain and the labour was such hard work but when you hold this beautiful child in your arms, you forget all about it.
“I cried for the last 800 metres and it was so emotional.”
Shara, who crossed the finish line in three hours 50 minutes, added: “I was really, really pleased with it.
“There were a lot more people than I expected, having run in some competitive races before, and for the first 12 or 13 miles, you just couldn’t get past people.
“But it was absolutely amazing, the crowds were fantastic and the three hours 50 minutes went by so fast that I wanted to do it again.”
Abi, who ran the marathon in three hours seven minutes ahead of a busy season of triathlon competitions, said: “My aim was to do three hours 15 minutes so I was quite impressed with my time.
“I did the London Marathon two years ago which kicked off my love of racing and this year’s race was the most amazing event ever.
“It was so heart-warming and the atmosphere was brilliant.”
Zoe ran three hours 31 minutes, while Hannah and Kayleigh both finished in four hours 20 minutes.
“I wrote my name on my vest and people were shouting my name out,” Zoe said.
“Before the race, I hadn’t enjoyed my training that much but Sunday made me feel as if all the hard work had been worth it.”
Hannah added: “I was struggling at about 20 miles which was earlier than I expected.
“But my dad and brother were shouting at me and Kayleigh was really motivating me to get through it.”