The London Marathon is one of the world's greatest mass participation events. Ranking alongside New York, Boston, Chicago and Berlin, taking part in the London Marathon is the dream of many runners. Our band of runners successfully completed the 2007 Marathon, but here is the story of one person's event in 2006.
How far would you go to find a cure for cancer? Most of us would agree to go that extra mile, but cancer survivor Dr Ben Edwards was prepared to go 26.2 miles, the distance of the Flora London Marathon to be precise, to raise funds for the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR).
Ben, 33 the day before this year's marathon, and a senior lecturer at Liverpool's John Moore University, has beaten the disease not one but twice, so he knows better than most the benefits of pioneering research.
A veteran of extreme sporting events, last year Ben completed the gruelling Marathon des Sables a five day test of running and surviving in the unrelenting heat and shifting sands of the Sahara desert and raised £75,000 for AICR.
On Sunday 23rd April he spearheaded a team of more than 30 runners and reached his target of £150,000 sponsorship to support the charity's work.
Ben who is married and comes from New Mills, in Greater Manchester, is alive today because of work undertaken by cancer researchers funded by AICR and others. At 15 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Then, four year's later he developed an invasive tumour under his arm. Both times he was successfully treated and the only reminders of those difficult times are the fading scars and the occasional check up.
He says: "Scientists funded by AICR are doing great and important work both here in Britain and across the world. I am a sports scientist and I know how pioneering research can push the boundaries and bring about change for the better. I believe work funded by AICR is making the difference to our understanding of cancer. That's why I was proud to take on the challenge of the London Marathon."
AICR's Chief Executive Derek Napier said: "When Ben completed the gruelling Marathon des Sables he became the first person who had recovered from cancer not once but twice to achieve such a feat. We are grateful that he chose AICR once again and led our marathon team. You can still lend your support if you want to. Ben and the team were prepared to go the extra mile for AICR so that we can fund more vital cancer research. I hope you will be too."
Ben trained seriously for months and sent us the following video diary recorded earlier in 2006. (15Mb Quicktime file)
We would like to thank Ben and all of our runners for the huge effort they put in. You can still support them - please follow this link to make a donation towards our valuable work.