THEY were chosen as winners because of their inspirational reasons for wanting to run this year’s Basingstoke Half-Marathon.

Meet the five runners selected by half-marathon organisers, Destination Basingstoke, to receive a prize package worth £1,000, which will provide support and training over the next few months, to ensure they cross the finish line on October 5.

Dave Brown

Basingstoke Gazette:

A caterer who has battled the bulge is hoping the half-marathon will keep him on track during his weight-loss journey.

Dave Brown, from Pamber Heath, has lost an incredible 15 stone over the last three-and-a-half years, dropping from 34 and-a-half stone to 19 stone.

But the 27-year-old self-employed caterer still wants to lose another three stone, and hopes the half-marathon will give him the determination to keep shedding the pounds.

Dave has set himself the challenge of running four half-marathons this year, and aims to hit his target weight ahead of the Basingstoke event. He said: “I was depressed, unmotivated, lazy and couldn’t see a future worth living for. Then something clicked, I started walking and then jogging and now running.”

He added: “I was fed up. Things like walking up stairs and being out of breath and laughed at in public were getting to me.”

Dave, who has tackled weight issues for most of his life, took part in the very first Basingstoke Half-Marathon, in 2011, and said: “I want to beat my last time.”

He added: “I’m nervous but I’m looking forward to it.”

Dave has already completed the Reading Half-Marathon, in March, and has signed up to two others in Nottingham and Henley ahead of the Basingstoke race.

He said: “I have got to have something to work towards otherwise I will say I’ll go to the gym and I won’t.”

Gordon Sutton

Basingstoke Gazette:

An inspirational dad who lost his wife to cancer in March has challenged himself to run the half-marathon to raise funds in her memory.

Gordon Sutton hopes to give something back to St Michael’s Hospice, in Aldermaston Road, where his wife, Julie, received respite during her gruelling breast cancer battle.

The 41-year-old was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago, but lost her fight on March 4 this year.

Gordon will tackle the 13-mile course on what would have been his 18th wedding anniversary.

He said: “I cannot think of a better way to honour my wife’s memory.”

He added: “I’m sure she would be very proud.”

The 41-year-old, from South View, had wanted to sign up to the half-marathon in previous years, but said: “I have run in the past but every year there’s been something going on so I never managed to run it.”

Since Julie’s death, Gordon and his 14-year-old son have decided to live life to the full, and the half-marathon is just one of the challenges he has set himself.

The father-of-one said: “We are doing lots of life-changing things. Because of our experience over the last seven years we are thinking about what really matters.”

He added: “I was very pleased to win the competition. I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to raise funds for the hospice. I really appreciate everything they do.

“I’m nervous because I think it’s a tough course and I haven’t done this for a few years.”

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Dave Warman

Basingstoke Gazette:

The Basingstoke Half-Marathon will be a big challenge for Dave Warman, who lost his high fitness levels after retiring from his active job as a linesman for English Ice Hockey Association in 2010.

The 40-year-old father-of-two, who has worked in cup finals and at Basingstoke Bison games, said: “In 2010 I retired because I was too old and didn’t do anything for a year. I wanted to get back into sport and running is cheap.

“I tried to run a mile and thought I was still fit. I had been sporty since the age of 15, but the first time I ran a mile I had to walk some of it. It was horrible, but instead of giving up I kept going.”

Dave, who now works as an IT technician at Fort Hill Community School, joined Hatch Warren Runners and has steadily increased his fitness levels.

He said his aim is to finish the half-marathon course in two-and-a-half-hours, but added: “I just want to get round. I’m more nervous about this than anything else.”

He added: “Running has taught me discipline and the focus to keep going and moving forward.”

Dave, who lives in Brighton Hill, said that he was surprised to have been chosen as one of the winners of the competition, adding: “I was really happy, I don’t usually win stuff.”

Louise Hartgill

Basingstoke Gazette:

Running helped Louise Hartgill turn her life around after suffering from post-natal depression.

The 35-year-old from Hatch Warren suffered with depression following the birth of her second child, and took up running to feel better and lose weight.

She has shed two-and-a-half stone since last July, and said: “I would love to complete a half-marathon instead of waiting at the finish line for my husband each time.”

The beautician is part of Hatch Warren Runners, and said: “Doing the half-marathon was something I was thinking about and one of the members of the running club posted the competition on the website.”

She added: “I just want to get round.”

Kelly Fount

Basingstoke Gazette:

Mother-of-two Kelly Fount decided to enter the half-marathon to inspire her two boys.

The 44-year-old from Kempshott said: “I have done it every year since the first one and really enjoy it and I want to support what goes on in the town.”

She added: “If just one person looks at me and says, ‘If Kelly can do it, then so can I’, then I’ll be happy.”

Kelly, who works as a dispenser for Sainsbury’s pharmacy, hopes to beat her personal best for the course, adding: “My best time is two hours and four minutes and I would like to get under two hours.”

Of winning the competition, she said: “I was chuffed to bits, I haven’t stopped grinning. I think it will help me with my training.”


A free pair of trainers fitted by Alton Sport

Three months full platinum membership at Beechdown Health Club, Basingstoke

Two free physiotherapy or biomechanics sessions with Reactivate

A bespoke training programme and personal trainer sessions with Time4Training

Free entry to the Basingstoke Half-Marathon, with access to the VIP area