Dorset runners braved the heat for the sweatiest London Marathon ever.
But sweltering temperatures, painful injuries and delayed trains didn't stop our athletes from taking on the 26-mile race and winning.
This year's marathon is the first to raise more than £50 million for charity. Our runners celebrate their fundraising efforts and share their marathon stories . . .
DORCHESTER police inspector Les Fry was
running before he hit the start line.
Insp Fry and hundreds of other passengers were forced to get off their trains and walk across London, leaving them late for the race.
He said: "It was a bit of a disaster.
"I allowed two hours from the hotel to the start line thinking, for a 40-minute journey, that was enough.
"Then a train broke down on the line and they told us we had to walk.
"That set the whole day on a bad start.
"People weren't able to go through the warm-up exercises or sort their kit out - it was just chaotic."
But, despite the setback, Insp Fry finished the 26.2-mile course for the second time in two years.
He said: "The first 18 miles were fine, but after that the last eight were very tough.
"It was just mind over matter and in the end it was less painful to run than it was to walk."
Insp Fry's reward for the gruelling four-hour and 49-minute race is a whopping fundraising total of £2,500.
Bovington-based Army warrant officer Gareth Jenkins was also running for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
He hoped to beat his Cardiff Marathon time of four hours and 19 minutes but the heat proved too much.
He said: "It was far too warm.
"The crowds were really fantastic and helped all the way but I was glad to see the finish line."
HAIRDRESSER Elaine Falcus raised £1,500 for the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust with her run. Mrs Falcus, of Weymouth, completed the gruelling course in four-and-a-half hours and hit her target time despite the heat. She was among eight members of a team entered by Weldmar Hospicecare Trust.
Mrs Falcus said: "It was very hot. I wanted to do it in four-and-a-half hours and did. The atmosphere was wonderful. The crowds were keeping us going."
Mrs Falcus added that it was the first time she had run a marathon and had been training 40 hours a week in preparation - and given up alcohol.
TRAIN troubles meant Andrew Miles arrived at the start line more than half an hour late. So the Weymouth postman decided to ditch his target time and do a little sightseeing along the way.
Mr Miles, of Dorchester Road, said: "After eight months of training you don't expect to get to the start line and find nobody there! I wasn't the only one who was hit by train delays and we all thought to ourselves, 'Where is everybody?'"
He added: "I had a target time of three hours and 45 minutes so I tried to weave my way through the crowds for the first 12 miles. Then I just abandoned it. I thought I might as well just enjoy it and go with the flow. I took in all the sights and really enjoyed myself."
Mr Miles, 33, raised more than £3,000 for the Autistic Society.
TEACHER Mike Waddington revealed he ran the race in his wife's knickers.
Mr Waddington lost two stones during training and suddenly realised the night before the marathon that his own underpants didn't fit.
Wife Vicki said: "It was 10 o'clock and the shops were shut when he said: "My Y-fronts have got too big for me."
Proving the bond of marriage knows no bounds she promptly pulled out a spare pair. It took the Wey Valley maths teacher seven-and-a-half hours to complete the race after a series of setbacks.
But despite reaching the finishing line three hours off target he raised £1,500 for charity Leonard Cheshire. Mr Waddington said that his troubles began when he bought an expensive pair of running shoes which caused an inflamed band of tissue connecting the heel to the toes.
He said: "I was disappointed that my foot let me down. I managed the first half in about two hours but then I damaged my hamstring. People were very helpful.
I had to keep stopping for a massage."
Mr Waddington was inspired to run the marathon after wife Vicki slimmed down from more than 22 stones to nine and a half before the pair tied the knot on his 40th birthday.
MUSEUM director Judy Lindsay says she will be eternally grateful to residents who sprayed water at her during the London Marathon.
Ms Lindsay, head of the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, ran for five hours in a sweltering 73 degrees Fahrenheit.
She said: "It was interesting and people were so supportive. Bands were playing, people were playing trumpets and some people were even hosing us down which was a real godsend."
Ms Lindsay raised more than £3,000 for the Stroke Association - smashing her target by £1,000.
She said: "People can still give at www. justgiving.com/juderuns if they want to.
"I'm pretty sore and getting up the stairs is a bit difficult today."
INJURED Neil Cradock had a painful run but finished the 26-mile run in memory of his dad.
He said: "It was a tough, tough run.
"Early on it became clear that my calf muscle problem hadn't gone away.
"I ran for about 17 miles until I really had to stop and walk, keeping my leg straight which made it a lot easier.
"But all the time I was walking I was thinking about the end.
"I really, really didn't want to walk across that finish line. I figured I could put up with the hurt for the last two miles and I crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face.
"The best thing was the crowds and the camaraderie between the athletes, encouraging each other all the way.
"There's hardly a stretch of the course where there isn't someone cheering you on - it's something you've got to see to believe. And the sense of achievement is amazing. Crossing the finish line was quite emotional and a really good feeling.
"Whatever discomfort I was feeling was nothing compared to what dad went through so I felt I could put up with it to get the job done. That definitely proved an inspiration."
Mr Cradock has raised nearly £2,500 for Myeloma UK.
WEYMOUTH estate agent Kelli Neal raised £500 for Children With Leukaemia when she completed the London Marathon.
Mrs Neal, 31, who works for Wilson Simons estate agents in St Thomas Street, completed the gruelling race in five hours.
She said: "I'm extremely sore this morning. It was very hard but a very good day.
"It was tremendously hot. Everyone I spoke to said how hard it was with the constant heat.
"There were also a lot of people with sunburn."
Mrs Neal decided to raise money for Children With Leukaemia after a friend was diagnosed with cancer.
She is still welcoming sponsorship and donations, and anyone wanting to support the cause can call her on 07920 804744.
HUNTSMAN Charlie Watts has raised a whopping £6,000 with his marathon efforts.
Mr Watts, 47, of the Cattistock Hunt, is an old hand at the 26-mile run, having tackled it twice before. He said: "I set myself a target of ten-minute miles but because of the heat I readjusted and it was no problem at all. The heat didn't affect me."
He added: "It's a wonderful achievement to get to the finish and get your medal.
My attitude is to enjoy myself and get round in one piece, not to worry about a race time."
Mr Watts has collected £3,000 in sponsorship but is hoping to double it before handing the money over to the Countryside Alliance.
Mary Wilkins and Amanda Timbrell
A TEACHER and teaching assistant from a Weymouth primary school took on the race and won.
Teaching assistant Mary Wilkins signed up with Amanda Timbrell and after seeing casualties along the way she said she was pleased to finish in one piece. This is the third time in three years Mrs Wilkins has run the race, and this time she has raised more than £2,000 for Children with Leukaemia.
She said: "Coming over that finishing line knowing you were safe and well was fantastic. I will do it again, I'm already thinking about next year."
IT WAS third time lucky for mum Katie Williams.
Mrs Williams, 45, of Thomas Hardye Gardens, Dorchester, has run the marathon twice before but never enjoyed it as much as this year.
She said: "It was incredibly hot.
"I've never gone under the showers along the route before but they were brilliant.
"And there were people standing in gardens showering you with hose pipes and children squirting you with water pistols."
Mother-of-three Mrs Williams runs with the Women's Running Network in Weymouth and Dorchester.
She added: "I can honestly say this time was the best. Even though it was very hot and very hard, I really enjoyed it. I was on such a high and seeing people running in fancy dress costumes, which must have been unbearable, made me feel, 'If they can do it, I can'".
Mrs Williams hoped to raise £1,000 but has raised more than £3,000. The money will be spent on computer equipment for Dorset County Hospital's children's unit, the Kingfisher Ward.
RUGBY coach Mike Sprules kept in good spirits despite the sight of casualties along the way.
The 42-year-old builder from Dorchester crossed the line in just over four hours.
He said: "There were people going down like flies, collapsing all over the place.
"I was going really well until 18 miles and on for my four-hour target time, but the heat really took its toll.
"There were quite a few people being carried off in ambulances - a lot of
people were dehydrated."
Mr Sprules has run the Amsterdam Marathon before but said London beat it, hands down.
He said: "London by far surpassed it.
"In Amsterdam you go out of the city and it's very quiet.
"In London there are so many crowds you've got a job to hear yourself think.
It really lifts you."
Mr Sprules finished in four hours and 12 minutes, raising £2,500 for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
A PAINFUL knee injury didn't stop Tony Ridout from crossing the line.
Mr Ridout, 36, of Hardy Avenue, Weymouth, ran for children with disabilities and is now in recovery after pushing himself to the limit.
He said: "It's all aches and pains!
"We got there late because of the trains but I got in with the crowds and was feeling good until my knee started throbbing. At Tower Bridge I felt it starting to ache, and it just got worse and worse 'til I had to walk. You can't really describe how it feels to be at an event that big.
"Towards the end the crowds were getting bigger and bigger and you tend to forget your injuries and just enjoy it. It was awesome. And it's really nice to be able to hand over a cheque after all that training."
Mr Ridout has raised around £1,400 for Phab Kids and donations can still be made at www.justgiving.com/tonyridout
DESPITE sore toes and blisters, Kaye Gray finished the marathon in under six hours. And her efforts raised about £700 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
Mrs Gray, who manages Nationwide in St Mary Street, Weymouth, said: "I had to strap up my feet but did it in about 5 hours 25 minutes.
"When we got to the Isle of Dogs we saw the professional runners coming back.
And even some of them were having to stop."
Mrs Gray chose Breakthrough Breast Cancer because she suffered two bouts of the disease in the early 1990s.
Sunday was the fourth time she has run the race.
TEACHING assistant Debbie Osborn more than doubled her fundraising target.
Mrs Osborn, 49, of Melstock Avenue, had hoped to raise £1,200 for Headway - a brain injury charity which helped her husband Adrian recover from a stroke last year.
The mother-of-four said: "I think I raised between £3,000 and £4,000, which is brilliant.
"People have been so generous, especially after seeing me in the Echo.
"The race itself took me five and a half hours.
"Although it was hot, the crowd really carry you along and the streets of London are wonderful."
DIABETIC Kim Legg ran to celebrate being fighting fit.
The mum-of-two, from Winterborne Steepleton near Dorchester, was diagnosed with type one diabetes 21 years ago.
She said she has remained healthy since her diagnosis and ran for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to celebrate.
Community staff nurse Mrs Legg, 34, said: "I'm just pleased to have got round.
"It was wonderful and very emotional when you come round the corner and see the finish line.
"It brings a lump to your throat."
Mrs Legg said she couldn't have finished the 26 miles without support from her family along the route.
She added: "I think running a marathon's a bit like childbirth.
"It seems dreadful but afterwards it's not so bad.
"I'm elated, I've got my medal and I plan to go round showing it to everyone!"
WEY VALLEY head of art Dan Emery is already thinking about doing the race again.
Mr Emery, 33, finished his first London Marathon in just three hours and 22 minutes.
He said: "It's incredible to see something so vast.
"I've been training so hard and I just wanted to make sure I did it.
"For me, it was finishing or nothing else.
"I think I need to do it again to really enjoy it.
"This time I was so focused on making sure I finished, I was keeping my head down.
"Afterwards I would have sworn blind I'd never run to the corner shop and back again!
"But it doesn't take long for that to go away."
Mr Emery has raised more than £500 for Dorchester Community Nursery School and South African clean water charity We Are One.
WEYMOUTH lifeboat volunteer Ken Hunter was fed up of watching the race on telly.
Mr Hunter, 45, of Chickerell, said: "It's not until you've done it you realise how exhilarating it is. I'm in bits now and can hardly walk!
"But I've never seen such an event. It was brilliant. I didn't expect the whole route would be lined with people and there were roadside parties everywhere.
"While the weather was detrimental to the runners it brought the crowds out which helped get you round.
"By the last six or seven miles you start shutting the crowd out a bit, and running up the Mall you're counting down the metres - which seem to go on forever."
Mr Hunter has raised more than £1,200 for the RNLI.
He added: "Now it's over I've got mixed feelings about it but it was definitely worth it all, without a shadow of a doubt."