Peterborough man’s marathon effort helps woman complete London race

A Peterborough man who was on the brink of pulling out of the London Marathon came to the aid of a woman struggling to complete the course - allowing them both to cross the finish line.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 4:45 am
Del and Laura cross the line

Del Singh was struggling with an ankle knock when he started the marathon on Sunday, and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to finish the world famous 26 mile course.

But the 59-year-old was able to keep going thanks to the support of the crowds - and was even able to help provide the strength for another runner to get over the line.

Del, who was raising money for Cancer Research UK, said; “I was carrying a knock going into the run, and was running with the slow runners at the back. After three miles I was really struggling. The slow runners take a slightly different route, which goes uphill, and it felt like my ankle was crumbling. I didn’t think I could get any further and started walking - which was more painful than running.

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Del and Laura running in the marathon

“I got to Tower Bridge, the 12 mile mark, where there is always great support, and I was able to run across. I then saw a woman suffering with really bad cramp, and I was able to help her to the St John Ambulance.

“At this pint, I realised any hope of a good time had gone out of the window.

“I kept going though, and at around the 21 mile mark, I saw a woman in a pink top who was really struggling - it was almost like she had lost the use of her muscles.

“I stopped to speak to her, and she said she was in agony. She was still carrying a backpack, so I took that off her.

“She said her name was Laura, and she had flown in from Finland to take part. She said she had tried to run the Stockholm Marathon and not finished it, and she was very disappointed not to get to the end of it.

“She said she was desperate to finish this one.

“I said ‘I promise we’ll get to the end.’

“I physically supported her and took her to the St John Ambulance, who basically said to her that her race was run.
“I told them I had just said I’d promised her she would finish, and said it was up to her.”

Determined to get to the end, Laura said she would continue to try and finish the last five miles with Del.

Del said; “We just grabbed hold of each other and set off. She was dragging her foot along by this point, but the crowds were great, applauding and cheering for us.

“I was doing everything I could to get her through - my ankle and knee were really struggling by now, and it was starting to get dark.

“Another volunteer, Adam, came along and supported her on the other side, and we carried on.

“The last mile is a real pain, as it is up hill, but I told Laura it was just a short walk to the finish.

“When we got there, all the photographers were lined up, and everyone was cheering.

“Adam moved aside so we could finish together. We crossed the line after eight hours and one minute, and Laura was put straight into a wheelchair.

“I went straight off to try and find some food, as I had hardly had anything.”

Del said that while it had been a tough run, he knew he was going to get to the end with Laura.

He said; “It is a runner’s mentality. Finishing with Laura was actually quite therapeutic in a way. It took my mind of the pain - a bit like an anaesthetic.”

He has since heard from Laura, who messaged him when she arrived back in Finland thanking him for his help

While he is still planning some runs, including the Great North Run, he said that Sunday’s effort was likely to be his ‘marathon swansong.’

Del raised around £2,000 for charity.