The physical London Marathon may be cancelled but that hasn’t put off some of Autistica’s dedicated fundraisers. Friends Alex, James, Jack, Gemma, Tom and Gareth were all looking forward to taking part in this year’s event when the Coronavirus lockdown was announced and the marathon was cancelled. With the confirmation that the rescheduled event in October was also cancelled the group of friends decided to take matters into their own hands.

They decided to each run their own solo marathons to ensure their training hadn’t been for nothing and so they could still raise money for Autistica when their support was needed more than ever. They picked the weekend of the 15th August and each set off. Gareth and Alex’s route took them through London with Buckingham Palace serving as the finish line, Jack and Tom tackled some steep hills in Wales and Bristol respectively, and James and Gemma were met at their finishing lines by their cheering families.

The team decided to combine efforts as they know the importance of greater autism research. Alex sums it up:

Research is so important. It’s the closest thing we have to the truth. For anyone who is autistic or is supporting someone who is, that’s what we want – we want the answers so everyone can live the best life.

The amazing group of friends have together raised well over £6,000. It may not have been the most traditional of marathons or what they had imagined when they signed up at the beginning of 2020, but all are in agreement it was worth the effort: they were able to continue the running they enjoy while supporting Autistica during exceptional circumstances.

Tom and Gemma have also decided to take part in the Virtual London Marathon on the 4th of October and will be tackling 26.2 miles once again!

Getting to that finish line was the best feeling ever and my kids came to cheer me on. Autistica have been amazing the whole time and helped me understand what a big difference our support makes to autistic families.

Gemma, virtual fundraiser

If you’ve been inspired by their challenge it’s not too late to sign up to the Virtual London Marathon. Challenge yourself to do something amazing for autism research.