As thousands of people prepare to take on Brighton Marathon next weekend we are sharing some of the inspirational stories behind those taking part.

Around 13,000 runners are expected to finish the 2024 event on Sunday, April 7, the biggest number since Covid, many of who will be raising money for charity.

Becky Alexander, from Hastings, is running in memory of her son Josh and his pregnant partner who died in a car crash in June 2023.

The Argus: Becky with her son JoshBecky with her son Josh (Image: Submitted)

The 42-year-old has taken on three half marathons throughout her six years of running, but never felt a full marathon was achievable.

Josh had a passion for health and fitness and always had faith she would complete the 26.2-mile distance. “He was my biggest supporter, always pushing me to succeed,” said Becky.

She will be supported by her running club, Heart and Sole Runners. Many of its runners will take on the marathon distance for the first time and are all rallying behind the #DoItForJosh campaign. Becky set up the campaign to raise money for the physical activity project Active Hastings, which Josh worked on and was passionate about during his life.

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Active Hastings came to Becky with the idea of setting up a football tournament in Josh’s memory in 2023. Eight teams took part last year, with another tournament planned for September 2024. 

Nathan Bhatti, from Horsham, is running in memory of his chacha (uncle) Nadeem Bhatti who died from a stroke on October 4, 2023, at the age of 52.

The Argus: Nathan Bhatti with his uncle NadeemNathan Bhatti with his uncle Nadeem (Image: Submitted)

The 24-year-old is raising money for the Stroke Association

The last time the pair met in person was in 2010 as Nadeem lived abroad, but they stayed in regular contact via FaceTime and he was due to visit Nathan at the end of 2023. Tragically, Nadeem was on the way to submit his visa papers for his visit home when he had the stroke in his car.

Nathan said Nadeem was a motivational, inspirational, charitable individual who excelled in life, but also gave back so much to the community. After Nadeem’s death, Nathan says many people stepped forward and told how he had supported families, whether it was by paying children’s school fees, providing basic groceries to families, or donating a percentage of his salary every month to community groups.

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“Chacha’s passing and the good deeds he did inspired me to continue his generosity in raising money for the Stroke Association,” Nathan said.

“Sharing his story and raising awareness of this condition may then benefit individuals who are at risk of this medical condition, support those who are living with disability due to stroke and finally fund research which one day will be able to prevent this medical condition.”

In 2023, Meg Riches lost two important people in her life to cancer. Her stepfather, Kevin, died from pancreatic cancer and Meg, a wedding photographer, also had to come to terms with the death of one of her clients, Lucy, who died just a month before Kevin.

The 32-year-old, from Brighton, said she was overtaken with grief. But having decided to take back charge of her life, she signed up to the 2024 Brighton Marathon on the spur of the moment.

The Argus: Meg RichesMeg Riches (Image: Submitted)

She is raising money for Cancer Research.

“Every time I go running, I feel joy and happiness coming back into my life. It sounds corny, but I feel like I’m running back to the woman I used to be,” she said.

Lucie Murray lost her mum in 2023 and used running as a release. She says it feels like the right time to return to her hometown from Los Angeles, where she moved to when she was nine, and run the 2024 Brighton Marathon.

Her daughter Delilah is coming to see the places of Lucie’s youth, including her grandmother’s house which the course goes past, and the pier and beach Lucie remembers spending days at with her own mum and family. 

The Argus: Lucie Murray Lucie Murray (Image: Submitted)

“I really look forward to event day – though I imagine there will be times it will be more painful emotionally than physically,” said the 52-year-old.

“The loss of my mother is so raw and I have so many memories in Brighton with her, my dad and grandparents who are also passed.”

Eight years ago, Jo Gibbons lost her husband Andy, 44, to a heart attack. For years, Jo was focused solely on getting her and their three sons through life, but in 2023 something shifted.

“I could see again, the fog had lifted. I notice things now, I plan ahead and I'm not scared to do things on my own,” said the 52-year-old.

Jo and Andy used to run together and in 2023 she was ready to return to running, a decade after completing the Great Birmingham Run, the city’s half marathon.

“I just thought, I don’t want to stop running now, so I signed up,” she said.

“My kids can't believe it when I get back home and say I ran an hour today.”

Brighton also holds memories for Jo, who is from Birmingham, as she and Andy visited the city and ate fish and chips on the beach. She will be taking on the route to celebrate her love of running, her return to doing things she had left behind when she lost Andy, and to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

Cardiovascular issues can be genetic and Jo wants to support the charity’s mission to help her sons and anyone else who might suffer a heart attack or have cardiovascular problems. 

Chris Terrill will be completing the 2024 Brighton Marathon on crutches for the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Charity, of which he is an ambassador.

The Argus: Chris TerrillChris Terrill (Image: Submitted)

It was not until he was 55 that Chris, now 72, went through the toughest military training in the world with the Royal Marines to win his green beret. Chris is the only civilian to win a green beret on merit and the oldest person (including the military) to win one.  

“Both my parents served in the Royal Navy during World War II, which is where my original passion for the Navy came from,” said Chris, from London.

“We lived in Brighton in a flat overlooking the Palace Pier and every time I run the half or full marathon, I pass the flat I was born in.”

The Argus: Chris Terrill taking part in the Brighton HalfChris Terrill taking part in the Brighton Half (Image: Submitted)

Chris has run 45 half marathons and 50 marathons around the world, with more than 20 of these events being in Brighton. However, last summer, he broke his hip playing cricket and had a hip replacement at the start of 2024.

Having been the first in his age group at the Brighton Half in 2022, Chris is aiming to be the first Brighton Marathon finisher on crutches (regardless of age group) this year and is looking to complete the distance in less than five hours.

“I want to show that neither age nor hip replacement surgery are obstacles to health, fitness and a full life,” said Chris.

Abbie Ruggles has suffered from poor mental health for many years and has tried to take her own life several times.

The Argus: Abbie RugglesAbbie Ruggles (Image: Submitted)

Most recently, in September 2023, the 28-year-old, from Norfolk, tried to take her own life twice.

Running for Abbie is a release of her emotions and the thoughts in her head.

 “It really has been game changer,” she said. The 2024 Brighton Marathon will be her first marathon.

“I was completely shattered by life and giving up on hope,” she said.

But, with the right support from her family and friends, Abbie managed to pull through.