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Newmarket woman bids to set Guiness world record in London Marathon

A Suffolk woman, and her running partner, are aiming to set a Guinness world record for the fastest marathon while handcuffed together, to raise vital funds for a children’s brain tumour charity.

Twenty-six-year-old Newmarket dentist, Troi Baxter, and Kerry Bullen, 48, both won places in the Virgin Money London Marathon ballot, and decided to use the opportunity to set themselves an unusual challenge to raise awareness for the difficulties children with brain tumours face and funds for Tom's Trust.

They will run together, while handcuffed, with their aim to complete the 26.2 mile course through the capital in less than four and a half hours, the first ever record for the fastest marathon run by two women handcuffed.

Troi Baxter, right, and Kerry Bullen, who will be running the London Marathon handcuffed together
Troi Baxter, right, and Kerry Bullen, who will be running the London Marathon handcuffed together

The pair are both experienced marathon runners. Troi's personal best is three hours 29 minutes with Kerry's best mark three hours 36 minutes. The extra challenge they have set themselves aims to represent the disabilities faced by children with brain tumours, which are the side effects of the life-saving medical and surgical treatments they have to undergo.

Kerry, who lives in Burwell, just outside Newmarket, has three children, Olivia, 17, Alex, 15, and Ben, 12, and chose to support Tom’s Trust because her children went to school with Tom Whiteley, in whose name the Cambridge-based charity was founded after he died at the age of nine in 2010 from a brain tumour.

“I’ll never forget the devastating letter we got from the headteacher when we learned Tom had died. I had children the same age and I’ve been motivated to help the charity ever since," she said. “We’re regular runners but this latest challenge will be something completely different," said Kerry, who has run the London Marathon three times. "Our legs will be in sync but we’re struggling to work out a way to move our arms. However we’ve managed a half marathon in handcuffs in one hour 45 minutes so we’re optimistic.

Out training together for October's London Marathon
Out training together for October's London Marathon

“We wanted to do something that would on some level represent the struggles these children go through to recover from a brain tumour. Out of those who survive, the majority have lifelong disabilities as a result that need ongoing support. We wanted to do something big to draw attention to the charity and the help it gives these children and their families."

And she added: “We’re so grateful to those who have said they’ll donate already. We’re already out running regularly and we’re excited about the challenge.”

The pair, who will be lining up at the marathon's green start alongside celebrity runners, have six major marathons planned for this year, including Chicago just a week after the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday October 3. and they hope to raise £5,000 for Tom’s Trust.

Debs Whiteley, Tom’s mum, who co-founded the charity, said: “Sadly, one in three children with a brain tumour will die, and there’s, quite rightly, a big focus on life-saving treatments. But out of those that survive, 62 percent will be left with lifelong disabilities such as blindness, hearing loss, lost motor-function or learning disabilities.

“This is a topic which often comes secondary to initial tumour treatment, but it’s a focus for us at Tom’s Trust as families need support for years after their medical treatment, due to massive life changes.

“That’s why we’re so thrilled to see Kerry and Troi draw attention to this important topic. We can’t thank them enough, and we will be there on the sidelines cheering them on.”

To donate to Kerry and Troi’s fundraising page, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marathonhandcuffed

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