Running mates raise 3,000

MARATHON EFFORT: Amanda and Alastair Curtis

HUSBAND and wife Alastair and Amanda Curtis teamed up on Sunday for the Virgin Money London Marathon.

The Hale Barns couple raised nearly 3,000 for World Jewish Relief after stepping over the finish line together in a time of four hours and 40 minutes.

Amanda said: "I have been part of the WJR Manchester committee for eight years. It is a great organisation that not only helps Jewish people, but people in need all over the world.

"They are dealing with forgotten people - people in eastern Europe that really need their help."

Amanda explained how she and Alastair, who are members of South Manchester Synagogue, Bowdon, prepared for the big day.

She added: "I am a personal trainer, but Alastair helped me run on Sunday,

"It was in January that we realised we needed to start training seriously.

"I had only been running one mile at a time at that point and I thought that was good.

"It was pouring with rain the first day we went out together and we ended up running nine miles on our first big run. We always try to run together."

Money raised will support WJR's key programmes in the former Soviet Union, sending support to some of the most impoverished and vulnerable communities.

One project, the Food Card Programme, loads money on to food cards so elderly individuals can buy food independently rather than rely on handouts.

And the Livelihood Development Programme supports single parents helping them to receive crucial training so they can find employment.

Projects such as these aim at providing hand-ups rather than hand-outs - encouraging independence and dignity.

Geoff Cainer, from Whitefield, completed the marathon in aid of The Fed's Project Smile, a respite service for children with special needs.

The 68-year-old is a seasoned marathon-runner and has completed nine marathons - including six in London.

Geoff, who finished the race in under five hours, said: "Raising money for Project Smile and knowing that I am making a difference is worth sacrificing a few things."

Geoff's wife Carol works for Project Smile. He added: "I am aware of the work they do with children who need a lot of special care and attention.

"I have watched some of the Project Smile children grow up and have seen that it is an essential service."

He will take part in the Manchester 10k and the Great North Run - both for Project Smile.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Adam Berman completed the 26 mile course in four hours and 20 minutes.

The former King David High School pupil raised more than 1,200 for UJIA.

MARTIN PAMPEL loves the London Marathon so much, he took part in it for a fourth time on Sunday.

And with a time of three hours, 27 minutes, he beat last year's finishing time by around seven minutes to record a personal best record.

"After last year I jokingly said that I would need wheels or performance-enhancing drugs in order to improve on my time, but somehow I managed to do it, with a combination of just water and a little bit of Lucozade," Martin said.

"It was a case of just carrying on running regardless, knowing that I was doing all this for a really deserving cause and wanting to do all my supporters and sponsors proud."

Martin ran for Cancer Research UK, a charity that means a lot to him, as his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago.

"2014 also marks 30 years since my grandmother died from pancreatic cancer, having previously survived kidney cancer," Martin, who has raised 1,500, said. "A number of other close relatives have survived cancers."

BBC researcher Martin has organised a quiz night on Sunday, May 11 (7pm) at Manchester Maccabi, with friend Sam Roberts, as part of his Cancer Research fundraising.

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