Kelly does it for dad - with a little help from Paula Radcliffe and Big Ben

Joseph Bulmer

London Marathon runner Kelly Lawson completed the gruelling event for the first time in memory of her tragic Covid victim dad.

She ran the 26.2 miles 'virtual' course in just over four hours, also raising funds for the Devon Freewheelers charity.

Mum-of-three Kelly finished in four hours and 44 minutes, forging her own route in Devon - which included beauty spots close to her heart - in memory of dad David Meyer, from Chelston, in Torquay, who died from coronavirus in March last year, aged 62.

Accountant Kelly set off from Haldon Forest and finished at Cockington country park in Torquay.

Using the official race App, Kelly had three-time London Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe in her ear, spurring her on, alongside cheering crowds. The bells of Big Ben chimed once she crossed the finish line.

Kelly, who was cheered on by her family during 26.2miles, thanked the motorists and passers-by who clapped, waved and sounded car horns when they spotted her and other virtual marathon runners near Teigngrace and Newton Abbot.

She said: “Cars were tooting and people were waving to us and clapping when they saw us wearing London Marathon numbers.

"When I got to Newton Abbot the heavens opened. It absolutely threw it down for about two or three miles. I was drenched right through. I was a bit soggy when I got to Torquay seafront.

“When I got to Cockington there was a woman doing the race. I ran past her family who were holding up the London Marathon sign and they all cheered me on when I went past.

“I ended the race at Cockington because it’s a special place. Mum lives nearby, I worked there until I had my first son. I used to go there with dad and walk the dogs. I had my wedding reception there. It was just like going home for me.”

Earlier this year keen runner Kelly launched Challenge 62 as a tribute to her dad.

She celebrated  ‘petrol head’ David's life by swimming 62 lengths, and running and cycling 62 miles for each discipline, raising funds for the Devon Freewheelers charity based in Honiton through a JustGiving page.

Russell Roe, Devon Freewheelers deputy CEO, said: “Over the last year Kelly has repeatedly pushed herself to the extreme to raise money for the Devon Freewheelers. The charity is indebted to her.

“Her latest challenge, running the virtual London Marathon, had us all in awe."

Find out more about Kelly’s Challenge 62, and how to donate here Kelly Lawson is fundraising for Devon Freewheelers (