Meet the class of 2022 – our incredible marathon runners

After all the miles, the early mornings, sore feet, nerves, sweat and tears its nearly time for the victory lap. On Sunday 2 October 15 incredible runners will be taking on the iconic London Marathon and raising funds for Haven House.

Behind every participant there is a why. Here we hear from some of our team.

Sam Hustler

Sam made headlines around the world during the pandemic in 2020 by running the length of his balcony 7,000 times. The remarkable feat saw him doing thousands of ‘laps’ of his three-metre-long balcony, all adding up to an impressive 21 kilometres -  the equivalent of a half marathon. 

He had been due to take part in the London Landmarks half marathon, but event bosses had to cancel the race following nationwide lockdown.

Forward two years and Sam is determined to finally run a race on the road! He is aiming to complete the 26.2mile route in four hours and promises to finish with a smile!

He said: “Doing the London Marathon is iconic and whatever the outcome, I’ll be proud to have been part of it. Raising money for Haven House has been such an eye opener. I used to be part of the committee at Woodford Green Cricket Club (opposite Haven House) and have helped raise money for the hospice by doing open days in the past. But doing it on my own and seeing the work they do makes all the long painful runs worth it so they can keep on going.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all of the people lining the streets. I’ve worked in London my entire life, but I’ve never been up on a marathon day. Seeing everyone just throwing positivity towards the runners will definitely carry me over the finish line.

“Anyone who knows what Haven House will know they rely on help from the public for their amazing work. If you’re reading this and can help them out in any form - donations - volunteering - advice - please do it.”

Sean Galvin

Sean was introduced to our work by our ambassador and his friend reality TV star Greg Shepherd. As a regular attendee at our fundraising events Sean was inspired to take on his own challenge. Sean has been devoted to raising money for Haven House for several years having previously climbed the three peaks in just 24 hours.

However, taking on such a challenge is quite the transformation for Sean, who had never been a runner before. Before training Sean, 26, from Hornchurch says he could barely run three miles.

Instead of birthday presents this year he asked his friends, family, and colleagues to donate towards his fundraising target and is on track to raising a staggering £8,000!

Sean said: “The feeling of accomplishment after a long run has been the high of my training. I’m really looking forward to crossing that finishing line and celebrating with a beer! Good luck to everyone running on the day. We’ve got this!”

Louise Smart

Louise lives in Langdon Hills and works part time as a kitchen assistant since leaving her job in the City. She started running a few years ago mainly to get fit without having to go to a gym.

"I go up to watch the marathon every year and always wanted to take part so started applying through the ballot. I was always a little nervous about applying for a charity place as felt it added more pressure. One year I started looking at the charity places and saw Haven house, which I used to live not far from and decided to apply, and the rest is history." 

"I can't wait to see my friends and family supporting me on race day and am looking forward to running along side all the other marathon runners who have dedicated so much time and effort to help others through charity places. Most of all I can't wait to reach the finish line."

Louise says that the training has been the most difficult thing she has every done but says she wouldn’t change it and is hoping to make her family proud. 

Craig Copeland

Craig has always dreamed of taking part in the London marathon but thought he would get never get a place. If he did, he always knew he wanted to compete but also do it for a charity where he could raise as much money as possible.

He says "I must admit there isn’t many highs when you're training but seeing the money you raise go up is the most satisfying thing."

Craig tells us there are many lows, and much of that is the time it takes to train. Running a business, family, friends and life has to carry on. He also said it can get lonely as long periods of time are spent by yourself and the chafing, is on another level! 

"I am looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere, everyone I know who has completed it has said it’s one of the best experiences of their life. Lastly, I am looking forward to seeing my family at the finish line."
A massive thank you to Haven House for offering me one of their charity spots. It has been a real honour to be able to raise money for such a great charity.

Mario Noto

You would think that Marathon training has been easier for this Haven House superstar with a background in fitness and a career in  teaching Physical Education. However, he's been put through quite the test while completing the majority of his training along the mountainous roads of Italy and in extreme heat. As well as life's commitments, it's fair to say Mario has found the training a challenge as well as the mental strength it has taken to complete the mileage!

“I'm running for two charities, one of those is Haven House Children's Hospice. Many will know that my wife Paola has worked in the hospice sector for 12 years and as a family we have been touched by the vital care and love that hospices provide. Haven House is extraordinary, providing support to families who are facing the unimaginable.
Paola has had the privilege of working alongside so many inspiring children and families, each holding a special place in her heart. Fundraising is essential to Haven House and any funds raised will go towards the lifeline services it provides such as respite care, hospice at home, music therapy, physiotherapy, yoga, end of life care and bereavement support. The hospice is there from the time a devastating diagnosis is made to help families have choice, quality of life and to make the most of the precious time they have together.

Haven House Children's Hospice was founded to care for seriously ill children and their families. And since 2003, the start, we have cared for thousands of children in our community, every day.

Every single one of those perfectly ordinary days have been...extraordinary. Find out more...

Watch our film.