The friend of a murdered backpacker is one of the thousands of inspirational runners taking part in this year’s Brighton Marathon.

Thousands will join the 2023 Brighton Marathon on Sunday, April 2, each with a unique reason for rising to the challenge.

Isabelle Gammer, from Essex, is running in memory of her friend Grace Millane who was murdered by her date while backpacking in New Zealand in 2018 – she had been celebrating her 22nd birthday.

Alongside Grace’s cousin, Emily, Isabelle will be raising money for the White Ribbon Campaign, a charity committed to engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls.

The Argus: Grace Millane was murdered while backpacking in New ZealandGrace Millane was murdered while backpacking in New Zealand (Image: The Millane family)

“We want to see the end of male violence against women,” said Isabelle.

“Although there has been a huge outpouring of support in response to Grace's passing, some comments in the media have brought attention to how crucial a campaign like this is in educating people on the violence against women, and the prevalence of it.”

Andrew Fountain, 54, from Cowfold, is running in aid of the hospital that saved his son’s life.

Twenty nine years ago, Andrew’s eldest son Eddie was born needing life-saving surgery. Eddie spent six months in and out of intensive care at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton and remained under its care until he turned 19.

The Argus: Andrew Fountain is taking on several marathons in AprilAndrew Fountain is taking on several marathons in April (Image: Andrew Fountain)

In April 2023, Andrew is taking on the Brighton Marathon, the South Downs Way 50 Mile, and the TCS London Marathon to raise money for Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, the charity that supports the Royal Alex.

“All the staff at the hospital cared so much and without their skill, dedication and compassion we may not have Eddie here today,” he said.

“I’ll do anything I can raise money, say thank you and allow the charity to provide the same level of support to other new parents as we were fortunate enough to receive.”

John Brewster, 43, from Portslade, is also running for the team who saved his son’s life.

Last year, the critical cardiac care unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton saved John’s 21-year-old son Jay.

In 2022, Jay developed endocarditis, an infection in his heart, and spent time in A&E, intensive care, critical care and finally critical cardiac care, where one of his valves was replaced.

The Argus: John is raising money for the unit that save his son's lifeJohn is raising money for the unit that save his son's life (Image: John Brewster) 

Jay’s experience has inspired John to take on the Brighton Marathon, raising money for the hospital and staff who saved his son's life.

Anthony Seddon, 41, from Portslade, is raising money to help the war effort in his home country, Ukraine.

Anthony met his wife Anna in 2012 while watching football in Ukraine. Now, they live together in Portslade with their two children.

When the war in Ukraine started last year, Anthony and Anna, from Dnipro in Ukraine, decided to do all they could to help which led to Anthony devising the Run2Ukraine fundraising challenge.

The Argus: Anthony took part in the Brighton Half MarathonAnthony took part in the Brighton Half Marathon (Image: Anthony Seddon)

The challenge is for football fan Anthony to run 1,569 miles, the distance from Brighton and Hove Albion’s Amex Stadium to Dnipro Arena in Ukraine. All the money raised from this challenge will be used to raise funds for medical aid in Ukraine.

The Argus: Anthony with his wife Anna and their two childrenAnthony with his wife Anna and their two children (Image: Anthony Seddon)

Anthony will run the Brighton Marathon as one of his challenges and hopes to complete a marathon a month until he has reached the 1,569-mile target.

Marlena Clark, 36, from West Sussex, will be cheered on in her latest marathon challenge by her husband Lee who survived a heart attack.

In 2022, Marlena and Lee took part in the Brighton Marathon Weekend 10K and decided to make their next goal their first marathon. The pair started training for this year’s Brighton Marathon but on January 21, Lee had a heart attack.

The Argus: Marlena with her husband LeeMarlena with her husband Lee (Image: Marlena Clark)

He survived and while he is focusing on recovering and cannot take part himself, he has been a chief supporter to Marlena, encouraging throughout her training programme. He will be there to cheer her on marathon day.

Sophie Buckler, 40, from Leicestershire, is running in memory of her daughter Daisy who died when she was only ten days old.

Sophie is running the first marathon of her life for Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS), who supported her following Daisy’s death.

The Argus: Sophie is running in memory of her daughter DaisySophie is running in memory of her daughter Daisy (Image: Sophie Buckler)

SANDS helped Sophie normalise her feelings of guilt and anger, and instilled Sophie’s faith that she would have more children without diminishing the memory of Daisy.

“Losing a baby is a strange type of grief,” she said. “You don’t grieve a life that has passed, you grieve a lifetime of missed opportunities and memories that you planned to make.”

Jutta Hepworth, 67, from Twickenham, London, started running seven years ago when she turned 60.

The Argus: Jutta started running when she was 60Jutta started running when she was 60 (Image: Jutta Hepworth)

She had listened to friends and other runners in her running club talk about their marathon experiences and was always in awe so added a marathon to her bucket list. Never having had the courage to attempt it before, when asked by a friend if she wanted to enter the Brighton Marathon she laughed and said “I couldn’t possibly". 

The organiser of her club, Bearcats Running Club, overheard Jutta and offered to run-walk the marathon together and now they’ve been training together since last year. 

Jutta said: “Three weeks after Brighton is my 68th birthday, so before I get too old, I need to prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Kate Pain, 49, from Surrey, has a debilitating condition and is running for DEC Turkey and Syria Earthquake appeal.

The Argus: Running a marathon was on Kate's bucket listRunning a marathon was on Kate's bucket list (Image: Kate Pain)

Kate was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in her twenties and struggled to walk, let alone run. She regained pain-free movement after rehab and is in remission.

Running a marathon was on her bucket list of things to do before she turns 50 and now, decades after her diagnosis, she has built up the confidence to take on her first.

“Running for those that need help the most provides me with the motivation I need when things start to feel tough,” she said.


Get more stories delivered to your inbox every day by signing up to our morning newsletter