A Stansted woman was among the thousands taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday (October 3).

This year 35,300 people covered the 26.2 miles covering Greenwich to Westminster and crossed the finish line on The Mall by 6.30pm, as thousands more completed their marathon challenge virtually during a 24-hour window.

It was the first time the event has been held since April 2019 because of the pandemic.

Laura Beaufils-Loader, 30, raised £2,300 for the British Heart Foundation and finished in 5:28.

Laura started running at around the same time as her dad Paul’s heart attack in 2019 and found it beneficial for her mental health, as she was able to zone out while running.

Since then she has caught the running bug, and has places in five international marathons in 2022, including Paris and New York.

Laura said: “Taking part in the London Marathon was a huge challenge and an incredible experience.

“The atmosphere on the day was electric and I want to say thank you to all the amazing people on the side lines cheering me on, they really inspire you to keep going and put a smile on your face."

 Lizzie Moscardini, events manager at the BHF, said: “It’s fantastic to see Laura’s determination and courage in helping the British Heart Foundation raise life saving funds.

“The stories of why our amazing supporters take part never fails to amaze me and it was incredible to be back at this legendary event, cheering Laura and our other runners on.

“It’s thanks to the commitment of people like Laura that the BHF has been able to continue to fund ground breaking discoveries including pacemakers and genetic testing for inherited heart conditions that help transform lives.”

Last year the charity's income was cut in half, when nearly all fundraising events were cancelled and its shops were forced to close because of Covid restrictions.

BHF said their marathon runners have collectively raised over £911,000 which will go towards improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases, which currently affect more than 7.6 million people in the UK.