A clutch of British racers will be swapping high-performance engines for their own two legs later this month in a bid to raise £50,000 for a children’s cancer charity.
Fourteen BRDC members will be tackling a whole new kind of endurance event when they take on the London Marathon on April 25 – and, of course, each and every one has to do the whole distance this time, it’s not like you can swap drivers in and out during the pitstops.
Taking part will be Andy Priaulx, Oliver Gavin, Darren Turner, Jonny Kane, Johnny Mowlem, Guy Smith, Charlie Hollings, Rob Barff, Sean Edwards, Richard Westbrook, Peter Dumbreck, Marino Franchitti, Stuart Hall, Marc Hynes and BRDC Club Secretary Stuart Pringle.
They will be running in aid of this year’s official charity CLIC Sargent which supports children, young people and their families through the physical and emotional ordeal of cancer.
Team captain Olly Gavin, who drives for Corvette Racing in the American Le Mans Series, will be making his fourth London Marathon appearance having also competed in the 2005 Paris event.
He said: “Last year I ran in the London Marathon and I did three hours and 10 seconds. I was desperate to get under the three-hour mark, but I missed it by those 11 seconds, which is hugely frustrating.
“[Team-mate] Jan Magnussen said he laughed so much that I missed it by 11 seconds, which is typically Jan! I don’t think Jan would run any further than to the drugstore and back!
“We’re really excited about it and I think a lot of the drivers are excited about the challenge of doing a marathon. If I’m the first one of the BRDC runners, then great.
“If I get beaten by one of them, I won’t mind as long as I’ve gone underneath my target time. We’ll see how hard Jan is laughing after this year’s event!”
Dyson Racing’s Guy Smith has set himself a target of 3 hours 30 minutes while Highcroft’s Marino Franchitti, aiming for a similar time, says the race will be a journey into the unknown: “The longest run I have planned is 20 miles.
“I did do a half-marathon pre-Sebring and although I had done that distance many times, it was different doing it as part of a race and I learned a lot that I think will give me a better chance of not only completing the marathon, but getting the best time possible too.”
London-based Pro Feet has supported the BRDC squad through custom insoles for each runner (something like getting a seat fitting, we suppose) which Franchitti says has given them all a big performance boost.
“Having a lot of my mates, like Guy Smith be a part of the team, is so cool and there is a real sense of all being in this together and supporting each other to get through it.
“We’ve had some fantastic support so far, but we still need more!”
Smith added: “Those last few miles are going to be absolutely excruciating, but I think one of the things that you get in a race is the adrenaline. You obviously have the crowds there and they’re going to be all there cheering you on.
“When you’re out there running by yourself on a cold day in the country, you’re exhausted. That’s one thing. But I think the adrenaline is going to carry us the way too.”
The BRDC Marathon Runners have already raised more than £35,000 and are hosting a charity lunch at Plaisterers’ Hall on Friday 23 April which promises a host of motor sport legends attending and an auction.
For ticket information please contact Hannah in the BRDC office on 01327 850 925 or visit JustGiving.com to make a donation.