Farmers raise thousands of pounds running London Marathon

Ben Hardy in tractor outfit

© Ben Hardy

Farmers and other industry stakeholders were among the numerous runners at this year’s London Marathon, raising thousands of pounds for farming charities.

In total, more than 58,000 runners took part in the 26.2-mile event on Sunday 23 April, including NHS worker Ben Hardy who was attempting to break the world record for the fastest time while wearing a full tractor costume.

Mr Hardy completed the course in a little over 5 hours, just missing the Guinness world record of 4 hours 50min, with wet conditions adding further weight to the already heavy outfit.

See also: London Marathon runner attempts world record in tractor costume

Together with his running partner, Ryan Willday, they managed to raise more than £5,500 for charity Tommys. Further donations can be made on his JustGiving page.

The NFU had a contingent of runners and has raised more than £30,000 already through its JustGiving page and cheque donations.

NFU president Minette Batters, vice-president David Exwood, and regional director Adam Bedford were joined by Defra lead spatial analyst David Fouracre and farmer Frederic Exwood to raise money for Farm Africa.

Ms Batters crossed the line at just over 4 hours 25min, Mr Exwood completed the course in 5 hours 28min and Mr Bedford finished in 4 hours 9min.

Ms Batters said she was delighted to be running this year’s London Marathon supporting farming colleagues across eastern Africa.

“While we come from different continents, we all face the same food security challenges, and in times of such global volatility it’s more important than ever that we stand together.”

Farm Africa chief executive Dan Collison said the funds will enable the charity to equip farmers in eastern Africa with the knowledge and tools they need to build sustainable farming businesses, overcome poverty, and build resilience to climate change.

FCN fundraising

Three runners completed this year’s marathon for the Farming Community Network (FCN) charity, raising a combined total of more than £5,000.

Annabel Richards, from Kent, ran in support of FCN in memory of a close friend who died last year.

Daniel Pidgeon, from Somerset, also ran in aid of the charity and said: “Everyone needs help from time to time, even if it’s just a phone call to have a chat and get things off your chest. The more money that can be raised, the more support FCN can offer.”

Kate Lewin, who works for an agricultural machinery supplier in Nottinghamshire, decided to run the marathon to raise money for FCN to support mental health in the farming industry.