Meet our marathon team | British Tinnitus Association

The Virgin Money London Marathon is one of the highlights of the challenge event calendar and we’re thrilled to have a wonderful group of fundraisers taking part this year. From power walkers to ultramarathon runners, each person has a different motivation for joining our marathon team and has kindly shared their story.

Donors and supporters play such an important role in keeping fundraisers motivated to push through their training and put one foot in front of the other on the big day, so please cheer them on by donating to help raise vital funds and awareness. 

Karen’s story

It wasn’t until Karen experienced tinnitus herself that she realised several of her close family also live with the condition, and have done for many years.

“I developed tinnitus in 2017 following the death of my little brother, Squirt (Iain), and an extremely stressful 2016 at work…I was lucky enough to be referred to a hearing therapist who recommended the British Tinnitus Association as a place to find information and support. And they have been fantastic at both.”

Karen will be power walking the marathon distance to raise vital funds for tinnitus research and support and she hopes that through her challenge she can “point people in the direction of the BTA so they can learn more about the condition and receive any help they need.”


Neal’s story

Working in a profession that helps to reduce the risk of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus, Neal understands the urgency for more tinnitus research and support.  

“Tinnitus is horrible, for some it’s devastating. The BTA is the only national charity specialising in tinnitus support. It seemed rather perfect to combine my passion for running and hearing protection, to raise awareness (and funds) for the fantastic BTA.”

Whilst Neal has a passion for running, he will be going the extra mile and completing several challenges (including an ultramarathon!) throughout his training and doing all he can to support the tinnitus community. 


Angela, Jess and Colette’s story

As members of the Fundraising and Services team at the BTA, Angela, Jess and Colette speak to people living with tinnitus on a daily basis and see first hand how much tinnitus can impact people’s lives.

Jess shared “I was 13 when I remember experiencing tinnitus for the first time after going to a party. I was lucky that it faded away the next day. I still experience tinnitus occasionally, but it comes and goes and is mainly at night when I’m particularly stressed.” 

This will be the first time any of the trio have completed a marathon, so will be a definite step outside their Sunday stroll comfort zone. 

SUPPORT angela, Jess and Colette

Hugo’s story

Hugo is running for the BTA at the in-person event in London, and is passionate about raising awareness of a condition close to his heart.

“Having seen my father suffer from it on a day-to-day basis, I began to recognise the lack of awareness and support (both medical and practical) for the condition. This is shocking, given how many people are affected by tinnitus. I hope that I can use the London Marathon as a platform to fervently encourage others to donate to the BTA and put a spotlight on a condition that causes so much stress and discomfort.”

Hugo has set himself the goal of raising an incredible £5,000, which will help to fund future tinnitus research and support. You can be a part of that by sponsoring his challenge today.

Support Hugo

Helen’s story

Despite having lived with tinnitus for over 15 years, Helen only recently found our services. 

“I have lived with bilateral tinnitus for over 15 years. No huge explanation, it just sort of ‘crept up on me’ and like most of us I just ‘get on with life’ and do my best to cope with it. It wasn’t until a colleague of mine started struggling with her tinnitus that I really talked to anyone about it. It really helped me connecting with someone else who knew what it was like.”

Helen has a few 10k runs under her belt but shared that “this is a huge ‘step up’ for me! I will be doing it for all those people who struggle with their own ‘silence’.”


Richard’s story

For years I lived and coped with tinnitus with minimal impact on my daily life. However last year the loudness increased dramatically, combined with the addition of a new buzzing noise I was left struggling to cope and my mental health deteriorated rapidly. Desperate and in need of help the BTA was suggested to me. I called the helpline and will always be grateful to the lovely lady who answered and empathised with my situation and gave great advice. Within a few days I was attending online support groups which gave and continue to give me so much hope and support. Realising I am not alone in this struggle is a huge comfort.

This will be Richard’s first marathon, alongside his first half marathon as he will also be completing the Vitality Big Half Marathon on 22 August as part of his training. He is hoping that by taking on these challenges, he can raise awareness and vital funds so other people with tinnitus can access the support they need.

SUPPORT richard rr

Christina’s story

Christina first got in touch with the BTA Tinnitus Support Team back in August 2019 after having an ear infection and experiencing tinnitus for the first time. She shared “I became severely distressed, anxious and constantly panicked. During what I call my crisis stage, I never thought I’d be able to live normally again. I remember my boyfriend taking me to the doctors in the car and I had a complete panic attack, we had to stop and I called the BTA helpline, I was so desperate. That phone call was the start of my healing process.”

“Having tinnitus and coming out of the worse of it has really inspired me to help others and also raise awareness. I’m proud to raise awareness for such a charity close to my heart” 

This will Christina’s first marathon, and a definite jump up from the Step Challenge she completed for us back in November 2020.

SUPPORT Christina

Jo’s story

Jo has been living with tinnitus for 18 years and remembers when it first started, although she didn’t realise it had a name at that point. She shared “Most of my friends don’t know I suffer from tinnitus and some days I find it unbearable. Imagine never hearing silence. The first thing you hear when you wake is a ringing noise, the last thing you hear before you sleep is a ringing noise and the only break you get is when you sleep.”

This will be her first marathon since 2014, when she completed the in-person London Marathon in 4hr24mins and 24 seconds. She’s hoping to beat this time and qualify for the Good for Age entry in next year’s event. She shared “I did as little training as possible [last time] and just wanted to get round without walking! I was successful! This year I am hoping to run under 4 hours, my main aim is to get Good for Age which is 3hrs53 for my age.”


Louise’s story

Our volunteer Louise will be power walking the 26.2 miles in her home country, Sweden. This challenge is very important to Louise as she will be dedicating it to her late brother Paul, who had a love for cycling in the North Yorkshire Moors.

“In 2017, tinnitus hit me out of the blue. It devastated me emotionally and physically for a long time and affected my work and personal life a great deal. I had no idea how debilitating the effects could be (and continue to be for many people). I cope much better these days and in fact now volunteer for the British Tinnitus Association to help others through tough times.”

Please support Louise as she raises funds for the tinnitus community and York Hospital ICU who cared for Paul when it meant the most.


Do you already have a marathon place? 

If you already have a place in the in-person event or the virtual event and would like to fundraise for the BTA from your challenge, we’d love to have you join our team. We’ll support you with your fundraising to make it as easy and fun as possible, just get in touch with our team on 0114 250 9933 or email [email protected]

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