As the Flora London Marathon 2009 fast approaches, professionals and have-a-go amateurs alike will once again limber-up in the name of personal goals and charitable benefit.

Charles Carter MFH will be one of the seven-strong team running to raise funds for the Countryside Alliance this year; the group range from first-time competitors to seasoned pros. The Alliance has fielded a group of runners in the London Marathon every year since it was first established in 1998. As a joint master of the West Norfolk Foxhounds, Charles says he is at his happiest when ‘hunting or enjoying the social-life that goes with it’; a far cry from the tarmaced streets of Central London, where he will follow the scent all the way to the finishing-line, with no hope of going to ground or heading for cover along the way.

Joining Charles to give rural Britain a boost from the CA will be Terri Brennan, Gareth Mullard-Wilson, Oliver Blackwell, Stuart Mitchell, Hilary Ponti and Matthew Board. To sponsor any of them go to www.countryside-alliance.org.uk and follow the links.

Eleven intrepid runners (without riders) will take up the challenge for Racing Welfare, despite the going being confirmed as extremely firm. Among their number is jockey, writer and personal-development speaker Jim Lawless. At the Age of 37, Jim quit drinking and smoking, lost two and a half stone and gained his flat jockey’s license, all in the space of 12 months. If past-form is anything to go by, Lawless looks to be a good stayer and is sure to lead the pack all the way to the finishing post.

To help them give a leg-up to all those who are working or have worked in the horse racing industry, including stud and stable staff, racecourse employees, heath men, farriers, stall-handlers, trainers and of course jockeys, go to www.racingwelfare.co.uk/marathon

Self-proclaimed ‘running buffoon’ Ryan Smith is greasing up this year in aid of The Rural Housing Trust, who build affordable housing in small villages exclusively for rural people. Ryan is also offering those who sponsor him the chance to enter a prize draw, with offerings ranging from wine to theatre tickets. For more information go to www.bmycharity.com/V2/mistersmith

The Flora London Marathon 2009 takes place on April 26th, to find out more go to www.london-marathon.co.uk and for tales from past runners see www.memory-joggers.co.uk