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'I was up at 7, stretched and was fine': Big Issue seller back on pitch after London Marathon

Cambridge Big Issue vendor Lee Welham completed the 26.2 mile run over the weekend alongside fellow seller Andre Rostant, with the pair raising almost £4,000.

Big Issue vendors run London Marathon

Big Issue vendors Lee Welham (left) and Andre Rostant opted to run the London Marathon to give back to The Big Issue's charitable arm The Big Issue Foundation. Image: The Big Issue Foundation

Big Issue vendor Lee Welham is straight back onto his pitch on Monday after he and fellow seller Andre Rostant raised almost £4,000 running the London Marathon less than 24 hours earlier.

Lee, who sells the magazine at the Round Church in Cambridge, told The Big Issue he loved the challenge of tackling the prestigious 26.2-mile race despite running into difficulties in the second-half.

The 37-year-old had vowed to complete the marathon with no training and passed the halfway mark of the race in two hours and six minutes before posting a time of five hours and six minutes overall. Meanwhile, Andre completed the race in six hours and 56 minutes.

Big Issue vendor Lee Welham ran London Marathon
Cambridge Big Issue vendor Lee Welham is proud of his London Marathon medal and wants to add to it next year. Image: Lee Welham

“I really enjoyed it,” said Lee. “I was happy with my time for the first half and that was really cool. At mile 19 I hit my wall and I was sick a bit. St John’s Ambulance were amazing, they tested my temperature and made sure I was okay and then I just carried on.

“I did it in five hours and six minutes so I didn’t beat my five-hour target but it’s still pretty good with no training.

“But what an experience, Londoners should be so proud. They were so friendly and cheery and all the kids were amazing with their signs.”

Lee and Andre, who sells the magazine around Covent Garden and Soho, were targeting a fundraising total of £3,800 before the race.

The pair have beaten the target and are closing in on £4,000 for The Big Issue Foundation (TBIF), The Big Issue’s charitable arm.

TBIF helps vendors connect support and specialist services as well as helping vendors rebuild their lives. Andre is a prime example – the London vendor was able to secure a part-time role as an office assistant at a law firm with the charity’s help.

Big Issue vendor Lee’s experience at Sunday’s race has already inspired him to enter for next year’s race while he shrugged off his aches and pains to return to his pitch on Monday.

“I was expecting to take the morning off but I woke up at seven, did a bit of stretching and I was fine,” added Lee, who has interviewed the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Big Issue founder Lord John Bird for The Big Issue this year.

“Next up for me is the Cambridge half-marathon in two weeks so I’ll see if I can beat my 13-mile time. I definitely want to run the London Marathon next year. I’ve already entered the ballot but it would be great to run for The Big Issue Foundation again. 

“I think with a bit of training I could do sub-four hours.”

Andre and Lee’s fundraiser is still open for donations. Support them both here or Lee can be supported individually here.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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