BASINGSTOKE woman to take on ‘virtual marathon’ around the town to raise money for an armed forces charity in honour of her husband.

Lin Hilson will run the London Marathon, on Sunday, April 21, but in Basingstoke, to raise money for Help for Heroes, a charity which supports veterans and their families with their physical and mental health needs.

The 76-year-old will embark on the more than 26-mile journey in honour of her husband Rex, who previously served in the British Army, in the Gulf War, the Falklands and Belize.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Lin Hilson

She said: “Rex spent 24 years with the REME (The Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) and that’s why I chose to run in aid of Help for Heroes. The charity really gets to me, because veterans need so much, and they get so little.

“It’s not fair on our veterans – they’ve done so much for us and get so little back in return. It’s my passion to do it for them.”

In a virtual marathon, runners complete the same distance as the London Marathon on the same date, from anywhere in the world, at their own pace.

Lin, who is a retired office worker, says she started powerwalking and running at the age of 59 and has done three London Marathons as well as having taken on the Great North and South Runs, The Chiltern Challenge, and 50km on the Thames Path.

She continued: “I ran my first virtual marathon last year and got the bug for it. I have a 13-mile route, then back to home, top up my water, and then repeat the same run.

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“Every time I go out, I tell myself that’s it; no more, it’s hurting my back, my knees are playing up, but I’ll carry on running and fundraising just as long as my body will let me.”

Lin says she does not have a fundraising target for the marathon but says it ‘would be lovely to reach £1,000’, however she acknowledges that ‘times are hard and it’s very difficult for people to dig deep’.

Help for Heroes senior fundraising manager, Sarah Whattam, said: “We’re very grateful that Lin has, once again, chosen to support us as we look to help our veterans.

"Not only is she an inspiration but she’s also a genuinely lovely lady and we wish her well."

To support Lin's virtual London Marathon, visit