Tale of two city marathons for Bourne Grammar School PE teachers

Bourne Grammar School PE teachers Chris Ray and Gemma Hempstead who are running in both London and Paris Marathons in successive weeks.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Bourne Grammar School PE teachers Chris Ray and Gemma Hempstead who are running in both London and Paris Marathons in successive weeks. Photo by Tim Wilson.
  • Chris and Gemma to practice what they preach on London and Paris’s streets
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Two PE teachers at Bourne Grammar School are putting their bodies on the line in back-to-back, big city marathons next month.

Head of PE Chris Ray (43) and head of Year 11 Gemma Hempstead (30) have both entered the Paris Marathon on Sunday, April 3, and the London Marathon on Sunday, April 24.

The pair hope to raise at least £3,000 between them for four charities, Macmillan Cancer Support and Team George for Mr Ray, while Miss Hempstead will be running for the Teenage Cancer Trust and BK’s Heroes.

Mr Ray said: “I ran the London Marathon in 2013 and really enjoyed it, but I didn’t take in the atmosphere fully and I missed my goal of finishing it in under four hours.

“So after getting places for both London and Paris, Gemma mentioned her interest in doing a marathon to me and I said that anyone can do a marathon if they put the effort in.”

Mr Ray hopes to raise the profile of patients with cancer and the care they receive from Macmillan Cancer Support staff, as well as Team George named after Stamford teenager George Robinson suffered a serious neck injury while playing rugby in South Africa last July.

Running gives me freedom because I do it when I can and also be part of something like this for charity as well

Gemma Hempstead, PE teacher and head of Year 11, Bourne Grammar School

“I didn’t expect to get into the London Marathon again after 2013 but, after doing so, people said to me that Paris was a really nice marathon to do as well,” Mr Ray said.

Miss Hempstead’s pedigree for marathon running is a strong one having joined Bourne Town Harriers last Spring after retiring as a rugby player with Deepings Devils’ women’s team.

Along with the Teenage Cancer Trust, ex-Bourne Grammar School student Miss Hempstead is also running for brain and kidney disease awareness charity BK’s Heroes, named after Lancashire chef Ben King (27) who died of an inoperable brain tumour ten days ago.

Miss Hempstead said: “I didn’t get a place for London until I’d contacted a few charities that I’d had dealings with previously.

“One of the charities had someone pull out at the last minute so I was a latecomer to the London situation and I’m running the Silverstone Half-Marathon with Chris on Sunday.

“Running gives me freedom because I do it when I can and also be part of something like this for charity as well.”

Bourne Grammar School’s Chris Ray and Gemma Hempstead bring the number of people from the Lincolnshire Free Press area running this year’s London Marathon to 15.

But first, the two PE teaches have to tackle the 26.2 mile Paris Marathon in less than four weeks’ time when about 57,000 runners are expected to line up for the 40th annual race through the streets of the French capital.

The race starts on the Avenue des Champs Elysees, in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, and the route takes in most of Paris’s most famous landmarks, including Notre Dame Cathedral, Place de la Bastille and the Eiffel Tower, before finishing in the Bois de Boulogne.

Three weeks later, Mr Ray and Miss Hempstead are in London with more than 37,000 other runners, including newsreaders Mary Nightingale (ITV) and Sophie Raworth (BBC), as well as soap stars Chris Chittell (Emmerdale’s Eric Pollard) and Charlie Brooks (Eastenders’ Janine Butcher).

To sponsor Chris and Gemma, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com and then type in their names in the box immediately under the “Make a Donation” heading.

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