Cherry Lodge runners visit our Centre after the 2023 London Marathon

As is customary, Cherry Lodge Cancer Care invited all our runners to visit the CL Centre (Howard House, Union Street, Barnet) on the evening after the London Marathon. Unfortunately, this year, for various reasons, only three of our runners were able to attend. However, they were given a warm welcome by Dr Margaret Clark (CL chairman), Tina Papasavva (CL Fundraising Events Coordinator) and Freddy Kater (CL Volunteer and Website Reporter).

Our runners were praised for taking part in such a gruelling event and thanked for choosing to raise money for Cherry Lodge, when they could equally well have chosen dozens of other worthy charities. During their visit, the three were treated to a massage to soothe their aching limbs.  Thank you to CL therapists Andi and Loretta for coming in to do this. Refreshments were also on offer – an inviting platter of sandwiches, cakes and lots of fruit. Thank you also to Tina for making the arrangements.

This social gathering after the London Marathon provides an opportunity for our runners to receive a massage, chat together, show off their medals, pose for photographs and share their stories. Thank you to Freddy for uncovering the following gems while chatting to the runners:

Maja Zor, aged 41, was our only female runner and this was her first marathon. She recounted that ever since she came to London from her native Slovenia she had watched the event on television and had always hoped to run it. Despite speaking to a friend who told her she had unsuccessfully tried the ballot 15 times (!), Maja was lucky, got a place and approached Cherry Lodge to run for us. Having done all her training on an indoors treadmill, managed a full time job and two children, aged two and four, she did extremely well to complete the 26.2 miles in 5 hours and 17 minutes. On being asked how she had found the experience, she said she had never felt that much pain in her life, despite having given birth twice! About half way round the course, the pain in her thighs had become unbearable and she walked for a while before getting her second wind. Maja used to love watching ‘Call the Midwife’ and her most wonderful memory of the London Marathon was actually running through Poplar. It was in Bermondsey that her two children, partner and mother saw her and she stopped for a cuddle. Well done Maja.Thank you so much for your enormous effort.

Vass Mandeville, 23 years old, had initially put his name down to run the Manchester Marathon on 16th April 2023 as he never thought he would get a place in the London event. How was he to know that he would be running not one but two marathons just one week apart – an amazing achievement, which was very challenging even for such a young and fit man. The Manchester Marathon was completed in 3 hours 7 minutes, with the London one taking 14 minutes longer. On Monday evening, Vass did not minimise the tremendous effort involved and said that what kept him going was the thought of his many generous sponsors and how he couldn’t possibly let them down. Sheer willpower got him through the last three miles. Originally Vass had planned to run with his sister but after she developed a knee problem, he ran instead with his lifelong friend Sam. Again, thank you Vass and wear your medals with pride.

Sam Abrahams, aged 22. Together with his friend Vass, Sam did the Manchester Marathon on 16th April, finishing in 3 hours 54 minutes. Like Vass, when he applied to run the Manchester Marathon he was blissfully unaware that a week later he would be competing in the London Marathon. Sam, very unfortunately, suffered a knee injury at Manchester and was advised by his physiotherapist not to take part in the London. Despite giving this advice serious thought, he nevertheless decided he was going to do the run. Not surprisingly, he found the London Marathon, which he finished in 4 hours 22 minutes, a much more difficult run, not only because London is hillier than Manchester and there were so many more runners, but also mainly because of his injury. Sam was certain that it was the sheer exuberance of the supporters shouting his name, especially near the Embankment, that got him through in what was still a very creditable time. Very impressive Sam, that’s for sure.

Photographs of Maja and Vass (left) and Sam, wearing their Marathon medals, were taken at the Cherry Lodge Centre at the small reception on Monday 24th April 2023.