Meet our London Marathon runners Neil and Christina

The London Marathon is only five weeks away, and we have 11 amazing runners who have been training and fundraising with all their might to represent us at this year's event.

On 22 April they will be making a huge difference to help Contact continue to provide advice, information and support to thousands of families with disabled children in the UK.

Today, we'd like to introduce you to super couple Neil and Christina Raynsford, who joined our Marathon team after speaking to their friend Jeremy - who will also be taking part in the event.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Neil -Christina -and -Jeremy

Neil, Christina and Jeremy

Christina - I am a busy mum and a teacher. Originally born near Manchester (now 46), I travelled widely as a child but settled in Andover, Hampshire at the age of 12 and remained ever since. I trained as a Teacher in Cheltenham, married Neil in 1996 and have two children, Beth, 19, and Luke, 17. Started running three years ago mainly to become fitter and healthier. I have since increased distance and speed. My first half marathon was Edinburgh in last year. This is my first Marathon and I can't wait!

Neil - I am also 46, but Hampshire born and bred. I am the CEO of a Hampshire-based accountancy practice called Langdowns DFK. I am a chartered accountant and have been qualified nearly 20 years. Persuaded by Christina, I started running 2 1/2 years ago having cycled for two years prior to that. Main motivation in the beginning was to lose weight and become fitter. It is my second marathon after running the 2016 New York Marathon, which was a fantastic experience.

Why did you decide to support Contact by taking part in the London Marathon?

We were approached by Jeremy to join the team, and when we reviewed Contact's website, it was clear that the charity did great work for families in very challenging circumstances. 

Parenting is something that until you have done it, you cannot possibly know how difficult it is. All families have to deal with issues and problems on a daily basis and we can only begin to imagine what that must be like with a disabled child.

It is so important that there is an organisation out there to make their lives just a little bit easier.

What has been the biggest challenge in your London Marathon journey so far?

Both of us have found the time commitment to train a challenge. Having said that, we would not have achieved anything like we have without the running group we have joined. The Muddy Runners have provided massive support and motivation, and we have made a whole new group of friends.

What are you most/least excited about?

I think we are most excited about the crowds and the atmosphere of the day. We have heard stories from others that have run London in the past and that sounds fantastic.

The least exciting I guess is the logistics of the morning before the run starts. We hope that the travel to the start and the facilities there are good as we will have butterflies for the run, we want all the preparation to be effortless.

Any hobbies outside running?

Christina - I love reading, exploring the outdoors and baking. I recently started making and decorating cupcakes which have been popular with family and friends. Most weekends are spent catching up with friends and eating out.

Neil - My hobbies centre around most sport. I played football and cricket for many years, and although I have stopped now I keenly follow both sports. I am a golfer, cyclist as well as running. Travelling plays a big part in both our lives and we love visiting new countries and cities. Also exploring mountains both in winter and summer, we are keen skiers and hikers.

If you'd like to support Neil and Christina please visit their Virgin Money Giving Page and if you'd like to know how you can join our London Marathon team in 2019, please get in touch on 020 7608 8786 or visit our fundraising pages.

Written by Contact at 10:50