SWINDON runners went toe-to-toe with 36,000 others in the 34th London Marathon.

After months of training, people of all abilities took to the gruelling 26-mile route with the sun beating down on them, having taken inspiration from their own personal stories.

Some were easier than others to pick out of the crowd. Major Ross Carter towered above the rest in his 13ft-high costume of Nessa the Nurse as the veteran marathon runner raised funds for WellChild, which aids sick children across the UK.

Gary Tubb, 52, of Walcot, ran for Great Ormond Street Hospital to ensure other children have the same standard of care as his son, Ben, who had juvenile dermatomyositis.

“I am absolutely shattered now,” he said after the race. “I managed it in 3.55.31, which I am pretty pleased with, considering it was my first marathon.

“It was a little bit warm going around the course, but it was probably nice for the spectators because it has been lovely and sunny.

“The course went really well otherwise. I never got blocked in and there were no hiccups. The first half went exactly as I planned, after which I eased off the pace a bit. The last three or four miles were absolutely horrendous. I didn’t really know what it was going to be like, but we had supporters all along the way and the crowd were just amazing. It was deafening.

“Great Ormond Street have been fantastic and they really look after their runners. We had a massage and a cup of tea waiting for us at the end.”

Kirsty Heber-Smith and Pete Dewhirst ran as part of local running group Shin Splints, and attempted to raise as much money as possible for Goldenhar UK, who support youngsters like little Morgan Sharpe, who has the rare condition.

Jennifer Merritt, 28, of Common Platt, was daunted ahead of the race after spending the last three years in training to battle her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

“It has been tough,” she said ahead of the race. “The main reason is to prove to myself I can get through this.”

One runner who never made the starting line was 33-year-old Matt Jones from Copse Avenue, who set himself the challenge of running two marathons in the space of a week in aid of Age UK. Matt fell during the Paris Marathon last Sunday and was unable to continue.

“I was pushed over half way around Paris and twisted my knee, so I had to pull out of the London Marathon ,” he said. “I am well and truly gutted. I have been given a place next year so that softened the blow a little.”