Simon and Amanda Pettitt with runners who turned out for last week’s fundraiser.
Simon and Amanda Pettitt with runners who turned out for last week’s fundraiser.

A TRIO of dale athletes will be heading south to take part in this year’s London Marathon.

Husband and wife Simon and Amanda Pettitt, along with Andrew Crawley, will line up alongside an estimated 40,000 runners on April 28.

Andrew has taken the place which is allocated to Teesdale Athletics Club each year, while the Pettitts, both 53, will be running in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Amanda said they were inspired to run for the charity due to the plight of their seven-year-old niece Ruby, who suffers from central core disease, a disorder that affects muscles used for movement.

“Central core disease comes under the muscular dystrophy umbrella and the charity have provided advice to my brother and sister-in-law,” she explained. “She was born with hip dysplasia, where the ball and socket of the hip to not form properly, and had to have surgery.

“She had a reaction to the anaesthetic and as a result they found central core disease.

“She also has curvature of the spine and it was thought she would never walk, but she can get about – she is really amazing.

“Her sister used to go to ballet and she decided she wanted to have a go at ballet dancing – and she was recently in a show.”

The London Marathon will be Amanda’s first attempt at 26.2 miles – but she is looking forward to heading to the capital.

“I used to live and work in London,” she said.

“I was determined to do it this year.

“I started training on January 1 and it’s gone alright. I pulled a muscle in my back and that meant a bit of time out but I am back now. I did 20 miles at the weekend.”

For Simon, the London will be he second marathon after completing the Edinburgh race last year in just under five hours.

He expects to jog round London in anything up to five-an-a-half hours.

“I find it incredibly tough, if I am honest. I don't think I am in as good nick as I was for Edinburgh, so I will be pleased to go under five-and-a-half hours.

“We’ve both had to endure the odd niggle, cough and cold.”

The couple are aiming to raise £3,500 between them for Muscular Dystrophy UK and have organised a number of events during recent months to help reach the target.

A New Year's Eve bash at Stainton Village Hall raised £950, while a Sunday afternoon tea added another £475 to the kitty.

More than 20 athletes turned out for a three mile fundraising jog from Stainton plus quiz and refreshments last week and this raised £180, which took the total to date to £3,100.

Amanda said they could not have managed the training schedule for the marathon without the support of fellow Teesdale AC members

Barbara Crawley, Judith Rodwell, Caroline Hamilton and Sean Williams.

“They have accompanied us no matter what the weather,” she said.