Commonwealth War Graves staff take on the Virtual London Marathon

Commonwealth War Graves staff Becca North and Sally McGlone virtually tackled the London Marathon in April to raise money for the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation.

London Virtual Marathon

The TCS London Marathon MyWay challenge called on participants to cover all 26.2 miles (44km) of the London Marathon on the same day as the full event without having to travel to London.

Some participants, like Sally, had the option to tackle the 26.2-mile distance over a week. 

Becca & George celebrate completing the London Virtual Marathon at Reading River Bank

Image: Becca and George at the finish line (photo courtesy of Becca North)

Becca and her partner, George, and Sally each chose different routes.

In Becca and George’s case, they tackled the route from Cookham to Reading, Berkshire, walking along the picturesque Thames Path. A mix up with tracking meant the couple actually walked over 27 miles – an incredible effort!

Sally, accompanied by furry companions Haggis and Archibald, aka the Border Reivers, chose a more northerly route, covering legs 9 and 10 of the Teesdale Way Route.

Two small dogs lying on a pillow Image: Haggis and Archibald, aka the Border Reivers, after day one of Sally's marathon march (photo courtesy of Sally McGlone)

The Teesdale Way route is a long-distance walking route (92 miles) going from west to east across northeast England. The route starts in Cumbria on the North Pennines, in a village called Dufton and ends in the town of Redcar, Yorkshire, on the beach.

Prior to working for Commonwealth War Graves, Sally was medically discharged from the RAF with osteoarthritis in her spine. 

Taking on such a lengthy route, even when split into chunks, cannot have been easy so we’d like to say a huge congratulations to Sally (and Haggis and Archibald of course) for completing the TCS London Marathon MyWay challenge.

You can still support Sally, Becca & the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation

So far, Sally and Becca have jointly raised over £600 for the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation!

A massive thanks to both Sally and Becca. Covering such a distance is no mean feat and we’re thrilled with the amount they’ve raised for the CWGF so far.

Although the virtual challenge is now over, you can still support Sally and Becca with their fundraising goals.

Visit Sally’s donation page here to contribute.

You can donate to Becca and George here.

We hope you can make a donation and help Sally and Becca reach their targets.

We’d like to say a huge thanks for all the funds raised by Becca and Sally so far. Walking such a distance is no mean feat and we are eternally grateful to them for their incredible support.

So, why take on such a lengthy challenge? After all, walking a full marathon is not for the faint-hearted.

Becca’s story

“History is a passion of mine and I believe very strongly in keeping the memory of people alive,” Becca told us. “The Foundation's work to tell the stories of those who fought and died during the World Wars is therefore something I deeply admire.

Two walkers in Reading Park next to the River Thames

Image: Becca and George on the final stretch (photo courtesy of Becca North)

“I am sure many of you have at some point been to our sites and experienced first-hand how moving the cemeteries and memorials are. With so many stories to share at each cemetery, and 33,000 cemeteries in total, it is hard to contemplate the scale of loss from the World Wars. 

“Though many of those in our care died over one hundred years ago, their stories are still as relevant today as they were then: they are poignant reminders of the human cost of war, especially at a time of such instability around the world. 

“For me, this is the ultimate reason I wanted to fundraise for the Foundation: to make sure that the stories of those from the last century who died as casualties of war are not forgotten, to help make sure we in this century do not repeat the past.”

“Though the marathon was a real trial for both myself and George, we actually ended up having a brilliant day. We walked through some truly beautiful and peaceful places, and we persevered even when things got really tough. And above all, it was great to have my friends and family along the way cheering us on.”

Sally’s story

As for Sally, she has several relatives in Commonwealth War Graves care that not only inspired her virtual walk but also a career with us.

A women in a dark blue hat and long black overcoat holds up a photo of a female Second World War casualty.Image: Sally McGlone at an RBL event (photo courtesy of Sally McGlone)

“I have three relatives commemorated and cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission,” Sally said. “Sergeant George Pringle, buried in Daours Cemetery Extension France, Gunner Matthew Wallace, commemorated on the Alamein memorial, and Blacksmith Fifth Class (Stoker) Eric Diggle Dodds, commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

“All of these 3 deaths had a huge impact on our family, particularly on our grandmother who herself served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) throughout the Second World War.”

Before working for Commonwealth War Graves, Sally had a 16-year career in the RAF. Sally left the service due to osteoarthritis but has since gone on to earn undergraduate & post-graduate degrees in history degrees. Sally is currently doing a PhD on female Military experiences including female casualties and commemoration.

Although she had visited many Commonwealth War Graves sites while in the service, and as part of her undergraduate degrees, Sally was the first family member to visit George Pringle, Sally’s great-great uncle for over 100 years.

“To say the experience was profound would be an understatement,” Sally said. “I felt the energy of all my relatives with me. 

“The cemetery, Daours Communal Cemetery Extension in France, was beautiful, tranquil, peaceful and a testament to the hard work, care and commitment from Commonwealth War Graves Commission staff.”

Take on your own virtual challenge with Walking Our War Graves: Normandy

Have Becca and Sally inspired you to get on your walking boots?

Why not take on Walking Our War Graves: Normandy this may and fundraise for the Commonwealth Wealth War Graves Foundation?

Cover 95km virtually anywhere in the world and walk in the footsteps of the Commonwealth’s forces as they fought in Normandy 80 years ago,

Sign up to Walking Our War Graves: Normandy today.

Tags London Marathon Walking our War Graves