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Marathon runners of Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 16:36 27 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:54 27 April 2016

Gill Punt dressed in her polar bear suit

Gill Punt dressed in her polar bear suit

Archant

Runners in Redbridge took the Virgin Money London Marathon by storm and raised thousand of pounds for charity.

One participant even broke the Guinness World Record for being the fastest runner in a full–body animal costume and collected more than £7,000 in donations.

Gill Punt, 45, of Chigwell, competed the 26 miles dressed as a polar bear, one of the mascots for her chosen charity, Cancer Research UK.

The previous Guinness World Record was set in four and a half hours and Gill beat this by nine minutes to set a new record of four hours and 21 minutes.

Peter French, 50, of Woodford Green, ran his 10th marathon in memory of his parents and father-in-law, who all died from heart disease.

Gill Punt broke the world record for fastest marathon in an animal costumeGill Punt broke the world record for fastest marathon in an animal costume

He decided to fundraise for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and raised £2,600.

“Taking part in the London Marathon was a huge challenge and an incredible experience,” he said.

“The atmosphere on the day was brilliant and knowing I was running for a wonderful charity made me determined to succeed – sponsorship money will help the BHF to raise funds for the research needed to fight heart disease.”

A team of 21 runners took part for Haven House Children’s Hospice and raised £45,000.

British Heart Foundations' Heart Runners compete in the Virgin London Marathon 2016. Photo: Danny FitzpatrickBritish Heart Foundations' Heart Runners compete in the Virgin London Marathon 2016. Photo: Danny Fitzpatrick

Monique Howlett, who finished the course in five hours and 45 minutes, was inspired to fundraise for the charity after losing her first child, Cameron, at birth.

She said: “I am elated to have reached my target.

“The funds raised will go towards making a difference to the beautiful children at Haven House in the present and in the future.”

Dave Smith, of South Woodford, also ran for the hospice and completed the race in four house and 17 minutes.

Monique Howlett with her family who cheered her onMonique Howlett with her family who cheered her on

He said he was blessed to have two healthy daughters and remains in awe of the work done at the charity and the families who depend on it.

“It’s a place where children who won’t ever have the benefit of becoming parents themselves can be children and not just patients,” he added.

“And where respite can be found for the families who haven’t been as lucky as me.”


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