TWO best friends have raised over £4,000 between them for two charities close to their hearts after taking part in this year's London Marathon.
Kieron Harrison and Mark Lancaster took part in the 26 mile event on April 26.
Kieron has raised £2,021 for Ectopic Pregnancy Trust and Mark has raised £2,705 for Lupus UK. Both men chose the charities as they are close to their hearts.
Kieron, who is a school teacher, said: "My wife Laura had an Ectopic Pregnancy last year, so I wanted to raise awareness of the condition.
"Although it's common those affected can sometimes feel like they can't talk openly about it.
"I wanted to raise awareness of the condition to break the stigma surrounding it, as well as raising money for the trust.
"The minimum target for the marathon was £1,500 but I had hoped to raise £2,000.
"As well as gathering sponsors I organised a curry night at Mughal Balti in High Street, Cheadle, and raffled off a signed Stoke City FC shirt at the school where I work Christ Church Academy in Stone.
"I'm so grateful to everyone who donated and sponsored me."
Mark chose to support Lupus UK after his mother Margaret died from the condition, aged 56, in February 2005.
He said: "She suffered for many years with various ailments and the doctors struggled to diagnose it for a long time.
"I'd always intended to take part in the London Marathon for Lupus UK after mum died, but it's taken a while to actually do it.
"I did a bag packing day at Morrison's in Cheadle where I work with my Debbie Button and nieces Rachel and Holly, along with three family friends Sarah, Katie and Lucy Ratcliffe, Ratcliffe.
"Thank you to everyone who helped me to raise so much."
Kieron and Mark initially got into running after competing in the Great North Run in 2007.
They started training for the marathon in July last year running a few miles at first and gradually increasing it three to four times a week.
They took part in the Stafford 20 and Stafford Half Marathon in March and Mark competed in the Oulton Park Half Marathon, while Kieron ran in the Flying Fox 10 in Stone.
Kieron completed the London Marathon in four hours 11 minutes, beating his target of four-and-a-half hours.
Mark finished in four hours 57 minutes, but was lucky to finish at all after becoming unwell during the race.
He explained:" I'd hoped to finish in four hours 20 minutes, but I was violently sick at 23 miles so I was just happy to complete it.
"The heat was a major factor because we hadn't trained or prepared for hot weather and the sheer volume of runners was also an issue.
"From about 20 miles I saw so many people being sick or having oxygen."
Kieron and Mark have both said that if the Potteries Marathon returns next year they will both sign up.
They are both also keen to join Cheadle Running Club and compete in more local races.
Mark is also looking to undertake a Lands End to John O'Groats cycle ride to raise more money for Lupus UK.
To make a donation to Lupus UK or Ectopic Pregnancy Trust visit Mark and Kieron's donation web pages www.virginmoneygiving.com/MarkLancaster and www.virginmoneygiving.com/KieronHarrison
For more information about the charities visit www.lupusuk.org.uk and www.ectopic.org.uk