Norfolk runners conquer the London Marathon

Anthony CarrollHe has been in the ring with boxing greats such as Ricky Hatton, but yesterday Taverham champion boxer Jon Thaxton faced his toughest test yet - completing his first London Marathon.Anthony Carroll

He has been in the ring with boxing greats such as Ricky Hatton, but yesterday Taverham champion boxer Jon Thaxton faced his toughest test yet - completing his first London Marathon.

As the former British, European and world lightweight title holder crossed the finishing line in an impressive three hours and 19 minutes he spoke of the pain of hitting the infamous marathon wall.

Jon had hoped to finish the 26 mile race in between three hours fives minutes and three hours 15 minutes.

The 35-year-old said that a combination of a foot injury from a few weeks ago, setting off at too early a pace and hitting the 20 mile barrier resulted in what he termed a disappointing time.

He had completed the first 20 miles in two hours and 20 minutes but he soon started to lag in the final stages of the marathon, which was held in sunny weather.

Jon said: 'I feel disappointed and very sore. I was doing very well in the early stages but then at 20 miles I hit a wall.

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'I have boxed against Ricky Hatton but that was nothing compared to what I felt at 20 miles. It was my first London Marathon I have trained for and the training was very different to when I was a boxer - I was not used to it.'

However Jon's disappointment was easily tempered as he knows his running efforts have helped raise vital funds for the Norfolk Hospice Tapping House at Snettisham.

Jon was one of a team of five runners who hope to raise more than �4,500 for the hospice.

The other team members were Stephen Harrington, at IT developer from King's Lynn, builder Neil Toll, from Dereham, police constable Paul Ray, from Norwich, and East Rudham teaching assistant Julie Barton.

Jon said he did not see former Norwich boxer Jackson Williams among the 36,000 participants taking part in the 26.2mile event.

Jackson, 28 and a Norwich City College sports teacher, was running the marathon bare footed in aid of the United Nations Children's Fund and hoped to complete the race in three hours 30 minutes.

Another Norwich celebrity could also be seen pounding the streets of the capital - former Anglia TV presenter Sascha Williams who was running her first London Marathon to try and raise �1,500 for Kidney Research UK.

Sascha, who is now at GMTV, completed the race in five hours 27 minutes and was overtaken on her run by a man wearing a rhino suit.

Asked if she would run another marathon the aching 29-year-old runner said: 'Ask me that after I have had a sports massage - but I would probably say yes anyway.

'It was a great experience. I could hear my friends shout my name - it was like being on the pitch at Wembley Stadium.'

Other runners from the region taking part in yesterday's London Marathon for charity were Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital neonatal nurses Anna Smith, 36, and Sarah Cole, 26; Iain Clayton, Graham Lyon, Graham Bainger, Sue Clayton and Carolyn Burrage from Norwich based company LEES; 58-year-old former Royal Marine Simon Beet, from Thorpe Abbotts, near Diss; David Guyatt of Blackborough, near King's Lynn; Virgin Money employee Rebecca Mower and her partner Ollie Carter, of Horstead; Norwich City Council civil enforcement officer Alan Edwards; Norfolk Magazine production editor Sally Withey and Frances Plume, 41, of Wymondham.