The London Marathon is the world’s most iconic marathon, with 39,000 runners taking part in 2016. Among them were Andy Little and Justine Kingston who lined up alongside Olympic athletes, elite runners and charity fundraisers and who raised over £6,000 between them for Home-Start UK.

For both Andy and Justine it was their first ever marathon.

“I started to run on a regular basis when I turned 40, having not really done any exercise for a few years,” says Andy. “I used to be very sporty but then marriage, children and work seemed to take up all of my time and energy!  However, I always felt that I would like to give the marathon a go and what better incentive than to raise money for such a worthwhile cause.”

While Andy had run before, Justine had only ever run a 5K race, but she had a very personal reason for running.

When I was 19 I was a single parent and had a Home-Start volunteer. It was really beneficial and it was really needed at the time.  So I wanted to help another family like me and give something back.

Justine Kingston

Home-Start supports 33,000 families and 70,000 children right across the UK and our work depends on the support of donors and fundraisers raising money for Home-Start UK as well as for their local Home-Start.

Andy completed his first ever marathon in 4 hours 35 minutes. “It was a bit slower than I had planned but in the end I was just happy to have completed it,” he says.

“The last few miles were particularly tough, as the longest run that I had managed before the big day was 35km.  The fantastic support from the crowds lining the way made all the difference, especially towards the end when I was drained.”  

Justine completed her marathon in 6 hours 4 minutes, around 25 minutes quicker than she hoped to. And she even had time to stop and help another runner towards the end of the race.

“When I was waiting to start I met a lovely lady called Nicola. We got taking and we realised we were the same level, running wise, so we decided to run the race together and that's what we did. So I encouraged her when she was struggling, and she kept me going too. It was a real boost to have someone to share the whole thing with and really got me through.” 

It is the incredible atmosphere at the London Marathon that carries runners forwards, with millions of people lining the route to cheer people on.

“I was new to running and not a natural runner, so this journey was by far the most challenging thing I have done.” says Justine. “Thank you for all the support from my husband and children, my friend who is a chiropractor --I hurt a lot in training -- and all my friends and family for all their words of encouragement as I could never have done it without them!”

But, would they do it all over again?

“Hopefully yes,” says Andy. “If the body holds up!” While Justine says “After all this, I have put my name for the ballot down again.  But hopefully next year my husband will get in and I can be on the side supporting him all the way!” 

Anita Frith, Senior Fundraising Development Manager at Home-Start UK, said “Thank you, Andy and Justine, for all you went through for Home-Start UK. Without the support of amazing people like you Home-Start wouldn’t be able to do the life-changing work they do.”

If you’d like to raise money to support our work by taking part in this incredible event, click here.