Op-Ed: The annual London Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, April 26. Many parts of England have been experiencing glorious spring weather that has bordered on summer but that is set to change. A cold snap is predicted for parts of the north of the United Kingdom with unbelievably snow thrown in for good measure.
Further south and in London in particular temperatures are expected to drop after this early burst of summer weather but that may suit the runners; if rain is thrown into the mix though it may not.
One hope for 2015 is that all the runners complete the marathon safely as in recent years that has not always been the case.
The annual London Marathon was launched in 1981 and sadly since that first race 12 competitors have died. On April 22, 2012, 30-year-old Claire Squires died close to the finishing line of the gruelling marathon course bringing the death toll to 11. Attempts by paramedics to save her were in vain. Initially the cause of death was not known.
Later it was revealed that Claire had a diagnosed heart condition which she had chosen to ignore; Claire loved keeping fit and continued to live a full life. At the inquest it was revealed Claire had taken an amphetamine-like drug which she had bought legally on-line.
She was not a regular user of the 'drug' but hoped it would give her an edge in the marathon. The inquest into Claire's death, held at Southwark Coroners Court, revealed that 'a now-banned drug in a sports nutrition supplement' was a factor in her death. The supplement Jack3D cost Claire her life.
Following her tragic death donations to her Just Giving page poured in and reached more than a £1million. Ms Squires was running to raise money for the Samaritans.
In 2014 42-year-old Rob Berry collapsed after crossing the London Marathon finishing line; he later died in hospital becoming the 12th London Marathon death. Mr Berry was running to raise money for the National Osteoporosis Society. Looking at Rob's Just Giving page Friday donations have raised £77,228.06.
While both of these runners raised huge sums of money for their charities the London Marathon should be a fun event and never marred by such tragedies.
Good luck to the runners participating on Sunday; may you all complete the race safely.