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Meet the inspiring runner taking on the London Marathon for women in Ethiopia

It’s been a busy few months for runner Toby Russell, pictured, with his tough training schedule, but now the countdown is on – as he prepares to take on this year’s TCS London Marathon for Hamlin Fistula UK!

After the success of our first year taking part in the London Marathon last year, we are delighted to continue for a second year and to have such an inspiring runner in Toby, taking on the race to raise funds to end fistula.

About the London Marathon 2022

On Sunday 2 October 2022, up to 50,000 runners will be part of the biggest marathon staged anywhere in the world, taking on the 26.2 miles of the London marathon from Blackheath to The Mall. This year will also see the continuation of the Virtual London Marathon, alongside the main event in London, enabling people across the world to participate their way.

Hamlin Fistula UK is taking part to raise awareness, help #EndFistula for women in Ethiopia and – with Toby’s support – fund at least two women’s life changing fistula surgeries.

Toby will be joining some famous faces running this years’ race, including Olympic medallists Sir Mo Farah and James Cracknell and radio and TV presenter Chris Evans.

We caught up with Toby to hear how his preparation is going and his expectations for his first ever marathon challenge. We look forward to cheering him on!


Toby Russell

Toby thank you so much for running this years’ London Marathon for Hamlin Fistula UK!
How long have you been running for?

I have been running for four years now – I started running properly just after I graduated University. I have always taken part in sports but had never properly taken to running in its purity until this point!

Have you run a marathon before?

This will be my first Marathon…in fact it will actually be my first big in-person running event in general as all my previous long runs have only been done in my own time as training runs! I have run half-marathon and 30k training runs – all mapped online and completed by myself.

What made you decide to run the London marathon for Hamlin Fistula UK?

I have always wanted to run the marathon but questioned my ability to commit to the training required. After learning that my friend Ali was taking part in a marathon, I did some research into the charity she was running for, Hamlin Fistula UK. [Read more about Ali’s run for us last year here].

I was blown away by the life changing work Hamlin is doing in Ethiopia and at that moment (almost a year ago), I decided that if I was ever to take part in a marathon, it would have to be for a cause a great as yours.

How is your marathon training going?

Training is going very well. I have been following a programme created for me by a friend, who is a running coach. I have been slowly building up my weekly long run distances, and will soon start to reduce these to de-load before the marathon.

You are doing amazingly on your fundraising for Hamlin Fistula UK already – can you tell us about the fundraising you are doing and what your goal is?

Thank you – I am the Head Coach of a fitness studio so I am in contact with many amazing members everyday who have shown great support! I have also placed posters around the studio with information on Hamlin Fistula UK and posted on my social media / Instagram.

What are you most excited about for the big marathon day?

I am so excited to just experience the London marathon and the atmosphere it provides. Every year I’m watching it either in person or on TV and I love seeing the spread of positivity from everyone involved from runners, supporters and organisers. I can’t train without headphones in but when it comes to the big day I will be completely present and embracing every bit of the marathon!

What will you do to celebrate after the marathon?

I will have family and friends over for a few drinks to celebrate… however I cannot imagine being awake for much of it!


We want to wish Toby the best of luck and thank him for his support of the life-changing work Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is delivering.

You can support Toby by donating and leaving messages of encouragement on his fundraising page below:

Toby’s fundraising page


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