Delight for Hartlepool’s London Marathon finishers

Hartlepool runner Lee Dodgson at the end of the 2013 London Marathon.
Hartlepool runner Lee Dodgson at the end of the 2013 London Marathon.

HARTLEPOOL runners helped to make up the 36,000 taking part in yesterday’s London Marathon – with one finisher hailing it as one of the proudest moments of his life.

London glistened in the morning sun for the 26.2-mile race and the marathon ran as smoothly as ever in the midst of the tragic events in Boston last week.

Lee Dodgson and Julie McGrath, both from Hartlepool, were on a high after crossing the finish line in the early afternoon – and both praised the “outstanding” organisation and described it as an experience they will never forget.

Firefighter Lee, 27, who lives in Ryehill Gardens, in Hartlepool, crossed the line in an impressive three hours and 22 minutes.

Lee, who lives with wife, Claire, 36, and his step-son Aaron Flounders, 13, said: “I had a few little niggles before the race and I started to feel them about three miles in.

“But by the time I got halfway I was in a good rhythm and I felt good.

“The crowd was fantastic, the support from everybody was absolutely amazing and crossing the finishing line was great. It’s definitely one of the proudest achievements of my life.”

Lee had already raised more than £4,000 in sponsorship for Hartlepool & District Hospice before yesterday’s race and there is still chance for people to donate.

“The motivation of knowing I was raising money definitely helped me to keep going.”

Hartlepool Burn Road Harrier Julie, 53, enjoyed the whole experience, from start to finish, of yesterday’s race.

The mum-of-two who lives in Seaton Carew with husband, Ian, 57, a car salesman, said: “What an absolutely fantastic day.

“Everyone is just on such a high, the organisation is incredible, it’s a lovely day for everyone involved.

“The weather was a little bit warm but it’s just such a good experience.”

Julie, who did not want to disclose her time, ran the race in support of multiple sclerosis support groups in Hartlepool and Easington.

To donate to Julie’s efforts email

To support Lee, visit