Two runners took on the challenge of the London Marathon this weekend to raise money for lifeline services supporting autistic people in the North East. 

Sarah Costello and Michelle Sanders, crossed the finish line on 21 April, smashing their individual fundraising goals and raising a collective total of £3,104.97 for the North East Autism Society (NEAS).

Both runners entered through the London Marathon ballot system, which randomly draws participants from over half a million hopeful entrants.

Sarah, originally from Durham and now living in Reading, said:

“When I got a place in the London Marathon, I knew I wanted to raise money for the North East Autism Society, as they do such a brilliant job supporting my brother Adam.”

Sarah’s brother Adam receives support from NEAS’ Independent Supported Living service, which allows him to live in his own home with round the clock care, and accesses day services, where he builds life skills and enjoys a range of activities.

Adam was able to watch the marathon from home and show his support for Sarah with a handmade poster.

“Finishing the marathon was an incredible experience and it was amazing knowing I was doing it on behalf of such a good cause,” Sarah added.

Michelle, from Durham, whose daughter recently received an autism and ADHD diagnosis, said: “I can’t put into words how amazing the atmosphere was and how loud the crowd were, absolutely unbelievable!

“A charity that raises so much awareness, promotes acceptance and offers so much support is a lifeline for parents like me. I’m so proud to be able to give a little back.”

Jon Appleton, Community and Events Fundraising Officer at NEAS, said:

We’re incredibly grateful that Sarah and Michelle chose to represent NEAS at the London Marathon. 

He added: “Taking on the marathon itself is a huge achievement, and they’ve both raised a spectacular amount on top of that to support our services.”

Anyone who feels inspired by Sarah and Michelle’s achievements still have time to sign up for the 2025 London Marathon ballot, which closes on 26th April.

NEAS is also organising fundraising challenges closer to home, with a 20-mile trek across the Cleveland Way in May, and a coast-to-coast bike ride in August.

Michelle said:

If you want to feel empowered and inspired, run a marathon. It’s an experience you won’t regret and one I won’t ever forget.

For more information on entering the ballot for the London Marathon, visit:

View our events