THREE keen runners are taking on the London Marathon, albeit virtually, to support a charity founded in memory of West Mersea schoolgirl.

Due to limited places being available for this year’s event in the capital, runners are also being encouraged to take on the 26.2 miles virtually next month.

The Catherine Bullen Foundation, which was launched in memory of fifth year medical student Catherine who died suddenly while in Namibia, has secured three virtual places through the ballot process.

Nigel Eden, Wendy Hobbs and Hayley Gladwell have taken up the challenge and are hoping to raise thousands of pounds for the charity which provides funding for health and educational projects in the African country.

Mr Eden, who lives in West Mersea, said: “At the beginning of 2021 running for the Catherine Bullen Foundation seemed like a wonderful idea.

“With October being months away it gave me plenty of time to put the miles in.

“I joined Colchester Harriers Running Club’s slowest group, running each Tuesday evening.

Gazette: Nigel Eden is running the Virtual London Marathon for the Catherine Bullen FoundationNigel Eden is running the Virtual London Marathon for the Catherine Bullen Foundation

“On my third run, disaster struck when my right calf cramped at the beginning of the run, an issue I’ve had on and off for 30 years. So my plan to build up over the year to running 90 miles in one week, didn’t materialise.”

He added: “I am determined to finish and raise funds for this charity in support of their work in Namibia.’

Ms Hobbs is a keen runner and has taken on both marathons and ultra-marathons in the past.

She said: “I have been running for fitness and through my friendship with Linda Bullen was pleased to be given the opportunity to support the foundation.

“My daughter, Alice, and her husband, Jeremy, have both run the London Marathon in support of the foundation and I am please to follow in their footsteps.”

Ms Gladwell, who works in the Co-op store in West Mersea, has done half-marathons before, but never the full thing. She said: “I am training and doing strength training with Flow on West Mersea, and taking part in the Parkrun at Cudmore Grove.

“I am so delighted to run this for a local charity and hope to raise money for the foundation.”

You can sponsor the runners at via the virginmoneygiving portal on the donations page.