Emma Ralston runs in memory of Mark Gallacher

THE thousands of runners who took part had to be fit and healthy to compete in the London Marathon.

But one entrant was there to raise funds in memory of another fit

runner who died unexpectedly.

Emma Ralston, a former pupil of Lesmahagow High School, was raising money for CRY, Cardiac Risk in the Young, a charity which carries out research into sudden death in adults.

"Mark Gallacher was my brother Ryan's best friend, and close to our

family," said Emma. "He died in 2006 of Sudden Death Syndrome. He was only 21, so it struck us hard."

Mark was the son of Christine and older brother to Ben, of Hope Road, Kirkmuirhill.

A keen track and cross-country runner at St John's Primary and Holy Cross High School, Mark had always led a healthy lifestyle.

So it came as a complete shock when this fit young man died suddenly when his heart stopped during the night.

Emma (28) had already taken part in shorter 10k events but decided to take the massive step of entering the London Marathon to raise funds for CRY, in memory of Mark.

She completed the marathon in four hours, three minutes and 10 seconds.

Sponsorship has been coming in steadily ever since and her tally is currently sitting at over 2000.

Emma opened a Just Giving webpage for sponsorship. There is still time to make a donation to the charity at www.justgiving.co.uk/emmarathon.

For more information on this story, pick up a copy of this week's Carluke and Lanark Gazette which is in the shops now.