Meet our incredible runners in the 2023 TCS London Marathon

Learn about the inspiring individuals going the extra mile for the Royal Free Charity…


Ben Milan

Ben is running the TCS London Marathon for a second time in honour of his father, Chris, who passed away from scleroderma. Ben is raising funds to help the charity support patients with the condition.

“This disease is so rare and unheard of that it took 8 months to diagnose my dad. If we knew more about this and he was diagnosed sooner, he may well still be here today!

The Royal Free Hospital looked after him the whole way through and they were his best hope of survival. They are leading the way in finding treatments and trying to find a cure to this disease.”

He is aiming to complete the marathon in 3 hours 30 minutes, as that was his father’s target time.

Ben’s fundraising page.


Luke Thomas

Luke is running the marathon after his brother-in-law George ran it last year for the Royal Free Charity, in memory of his uncle. His training is going well and we’re sure there will be some healthy competition for the best finishing time!

Luke’s fundraising page.


Emily Sims

Emily is incredibly grateful to the staff at the Royal Free Hospital, having undergone a life-saving bone marrow transplant in 2013 due to a rare auto immune deficiency called GATA2. She’s taking on the challenge of running the TCS London Marathon to give back to the doctors and specialists who cared for her.

“I cannot begin to explain how amazing the Royal Free Hospital was with regard to my care. All the people who looked after me and the incredible man who donated his bone marrow were and still are my heroes! They’re all superhuman in my eyes and I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them.”

Emily’s fundraising page.


Martin Ely

Martin was inspired to run the TCS London Marathon for the Royal Free Charity, after the amazing care provided to his late sister-in-law, Carmel. Martin began running as a way to improve his health after a period of illness in 2020, and after progressing from local park runs to 10km runs, he is now ready to take on a bigger challenge.

“The Royal Free Hospital is close to my heart. My sister-in-law, Carmel, was cared for and treated there. Unfortunately, Carmel lost her fight for life on 23 April 2015, and exactly 8 years to the day I will run in her memory at the London Marathon. I recall the extraordinary level of care and compassion that the Royal Free Hospital staff provided to both Carmel and her immediate family during her time at the hospital and the patience and sympathy they demonstrated at the time of her passing. I’m so proud to be running for the Royal Free Charity and giving a little back to staff who gave so much.”

Martin’s fundraising page.


Nick Allison

As a research data and performance analyst at the Royal Free Hospital, Nick has seen first hand the impact of the charity’s support. Nick is now also focusing on his own sporting performance, training for the TCS London Marathon this April in aid of the charity.

“The charity has provided a lot of support, from grants for our team to attend conferences, which in turn have helped us to work smarter and increase income to the department, all the way up to the huge support for the Pears Building.

“I’ve benefitted both directly and indirectly from the charity’s support and I would like to give a little back. Living in Greenwich, I have the start line and the Cutty Sark right on my doorstep. There’s a real buzz every year, and I can’t wait to be part of it. And it also means I won’t be late!”

Nick’s fundraising page.


Jordan Bennett

Jordan was inspired to run by his partner, who is a nurse in the emergency department and members of his family who have been well cared for at the hospital. Since he signed up for the marathon his cousin passed away, and he is now running in his memory.

Jordan’s fundraising page.


Philippa Ekin

Philippa works as a viral hepatitis pathway manager at the Royal Free Hospital, and despite having run marathons before, this will be her first TCS London Marathon. She has worked at the trust for 12 years and has seen the impact of the charity in many ways, from its complementary therapy service to support of staff training. In particular, she worked full-time through the pandemic and really appreciated the charity’s support.

“The support the charity provided really gave staff a boost during the pandemic when it was tough to come into work. Even today, when I see the volunteers in their purple t-shirts, it feels supportive.”

Philippa’s fundraising page.


Yolanda Ioannou

Yolanda works as a consultant breast sonographer at Chase Farm Hospital, and one of the reasons she was inspired to run for the Royal Free Charity, was its support of contrast enhanced digital mammography through its 2023 winter appeal. She has run for other charities before but is excited to take on this new challenge and contribute to the good work of the charity.

“I manage the ultrasound service for Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital so here I have also seen the benefit of charity funding for our monitors in obstetric scan rooms for pregnant ladies to be able to see their babies during their scans. I really appreciate the funding provided by the charity; it has inspired me.”

Yolanda’s fundraising page.


Rachel Hussey and Lexie Munro

Rachel and Lexie are friends, running the marathon together after Lexie’s son, Calum was treated at the Royal Free Hospital.

Last summer, Calum became critically ill with acute liver failure and after many tests, he was diagnosed with two rare auto-immune conditions. Lexie said:

“Back then, if you had asked me to run 26 miles to make him better, I would have run 100. The amazing teams at the Royal Free Hospital worked around the clock to keep him stable while they ran test after test. Within 10 days they’d started treatment. Within another week he was walking and within a month he was back home.”

Rachel wanted to join Lexie on the start line and help support the charity:

“I plan to run the London Marathon with my friend Lexie, albeit about an hour behind her!  It is my tribute to her and Calum for their strength last year and to support the Royal Free to continue to work miracles.”

Rachel’s fundraising page.

Lexie’s fundraising page.


Vicki Goldenberg

Vicki started running last October, after watching the TCS London Marathon on the TV and being so impressed by the runners, often older than herself, taking on the distance. She initially missed out on a place but kept training in the hope she could make it onto the start line, and fundraise for the charity.

“Over the last couple of years the Royal Free London has played an important part in the life of my family. My Dad, who passed away in December, was a recipient of their incredible care and certainly helped to prolong his life as he battled pancreatic cancer. He had amazingly skilled surgery during the pandemic and more recently chemotherapy which was always delivered with a smile and a kind word.”

Vicki’s fundraising page.


Mathew Jones

Thank you to Mathew who has a ballot place for the Marathon and decided to raise funds for the National Amyloidosis Centre.

“I have taken up running during  the lockdown and it has turned into a bit of a midlife crisis more than anything else!  Once I had a place I felt it a moral duty to raise money given how scarce these places are. ”

Amyloidosis is the name for a group of rare, serious conditions caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body. The National Amyloidosis Centre at the Royal Free Hospital is the only centre in the UK specialising in amyloidosis.

“I had never heard of it until during the second lockdown my father in law, Christopher, who has had various unexplained ailments for many years went to hospital, only to find out that he had amyloidosis. In less than four weeks he had deteriorated and in March 2021 he passed away. The shock and not having spent time with him for almost a year due to the lockdown have left a great deal of sadness in our lives. I feel I wanted to do something to remember him and to at least raise some funds for anything that might help a family somewhere improve their chances to prolong their lives and precious moments with loved ones.”

Mathew’s fundraising page.


Amelia Crees

Amelia, is also running to raise money for amyloidosis research, in memory of two close family members.

“I am running in remembrance of my grandpa Don who passed away in 2012 and my great uncle Mick who passed away in 2021 both from a rare heart condition called amyloidosis. Having this awful illness affect both sides of my family has inspired me to raise money for vital research into diagnosing and treating amyloidosis. I am really looking forward to my this massive challenge and I am confident I will see it through, hopefully with a smile on my face!”

Amelia’s fundraising page.


Kimberley Perry

Kimberley is also fundraising for amyloidosis research, as her father and brother both had the condition.

“Amyloidosis affected Dad’s and John’s kidneys resulting in them both having kidney transplants. Ultimately the other related medical conditions resulted in us losing Dad and John far too early. Hopefully, research funding will give others the much-needed advancement in treatments and perhaps even a cure one day.”

Kimberley’s fundraising page.


Join us on the day to help cheer them on

We will be cheering all our marathon heroes on the south side of Tower Bridge, just past Mile 12. It is roughly a 10min walk from London Bridge Underground Station, Tooley Street entrance, and we’ll be there from 10am.

If you feel inspired and would like to run in 2024 race, you can find out more about how to enter on our TCS London Marathon event page.