Marathon men on capital start line

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About 37,000 runners will set off from Greenwich Park and Blackheath next Sunday morning at the start of the 2014 Virgin London Marathon.

One of the UK’s biggest annual sporting events will once again feature runners from South Holland and the Deepings, aiming to register personal best times and raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Elite athletes such as double Olympic and World champion Mo Farah, Olympic and World rowing gold medallists Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins, former England footballer Michael Owen and Masterchef: The Professionals host Michel Roux Jr. will be joined by a trio of athletes from our area.

Steve Tucker (42) of East Elloe Avenue, Holbeach, is no stranger to fun runs and half-marathons after kicking a “22-year, 60-a-day smoking habit” in June 2012.

The Bakkavor Pizza worker, who is running in aid of Diabetes UK, said: “I watched the London Marathon on TV last year and thought ‘I’d like to do that’.

“But I didn’t really think I would get in until I got the chance to run as part of the Diabetes UK team.

“Between 2003 and 2012, I was smoking 60 cigarettes a day and running hadn’t even entered my head.

“But I started to run round the block with my wife and I kept going at it until I got a bit better.”

Steve’s wife, Sue Tucker-Reynolds was diagnosed with Type One diabetes in 2003 and was told her pancreas wasn’t functioning as it should.

“It was an awful time, but Sue’s now well enough to come down to London with our two kids to cheer me on,” Steve said.

At one stage, Steve was hoping to clock a time of four hours.

But recent ankle problems as left him with the ambition just to complete the course.

Steve said: “I thought running the London Marathon was a bit of a pipe dream, but now look at me.”