London Marathon, runners, Devon, Freewheelers

London Marathon runner from Exeter races in memory of dad who died from Covid-19

First-time London Marathon runner Kelly Lawson, from Exeter, completed the 26.2 miles in just over four hours, to raise vital funds for the Devon Freewheelers charity, based in Honiton.

Mum-of-three Kelly completed the virtual London Marathon in four hours and 44 minutes, forging her own route in Devon, which included beauty spots close to her heart, in memory of her dad.

Accountant Kelly ran her route in Devon, setting off from Haldon Forest and finishing at Cockington Court country park, in Torquay.

Using the official race App, Kelly had three-time London Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe in her ear, spurring her on, alongside cheering crowds. The bells of Big Ben chimed once she crossed the finish line.

Married Kelly, who was cheered on by her family during 26.2miles, thanked the motorists and passers-by who clapped, waved and sounded car horns when they spotted her and other virtual marathon runners near Teigngrace and Newton Abbot.

“Cars were tooting and people were waving to us and clapping when they saw us wearing London Marathon numbers,” said Kelly. “When we finished Big Ben rang out.

“When I got to Newton Abbot the heavens opened. It absolutely threw it down for about two or three miles. I was drenched right through. I was a bit soggy when I got to Torquay seafront.

“When I got to Cockington there was a woman doing the race. I ran past her family who were holding up the London Marathon sign and they all cheered me on when I went past.

“I ended the race at Cockington Court country park because it’s a special place; mum lives nearby, I worked there until I had my first son. I used to go there with dad and walk the dogs. I had my wedding reception there. It was just like going home for me.”

Earlier this year keen runner Kelly launched Challenge 62 as a tribute to her dad David Meyer, from Chelston, in Torquay, who died from coronavirus in March 2020, aged 62. 

She celebrated her ‘petrol head’ dad’s life by swimming 62 lengths, and running and cycling 62 miles for each discipline, raising funds for the Devon Freewheelers charity through a JustGiving page.

Russell Roe, Devon Freewheelers deputy CEO, said: “Over the last year Kelly has repeatedly pushed herself to the extreme to raise money for the Devon Freewheelers. The charity is indebted to her.

“Her latest challenge, running the virtual London Marathon, had us all in awe.

“The Devon Blood Bikes rely on fundraising to offer a free service, supporting the county’s communities and the NHS.

“We cannot express enough the level of gratitude everyone at the Devon Freewheelers feels towards Kelly for all she has done for the charity over the last year, and continues to do.”

Find out more about Kelly’s Challenge 62, and how to donate, here.

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