Runners from St Albans and Harpenden raised thousands of pounds for charity by taking part in the London Marathon.

The streets of London were lined with spectators as tens of thousands of people attempted the 26.2mile challenge on Sunday.

Sophia Garnett, 27, almost doubled her £1,500 fundraising target by collecting £2,700 in memory of her sister who died at birth.

Ms Garnett, a nursery teacher from St Albans, ran in aid of Bliss, a charity that provides special care for sick or premature babies and their families.

She completed the run in five hours and 20 minutes, shaving more than an hour off her previous London Marathon time of six hours and 35 minutes.

She said: "It was hard, but good.

"I was an hour and 15 minutes quicker - I’m so happy. I actually ran the whole time, I didn’t walk at all, so that was the difference."

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Sophia Garnett

Ms Garnett said she planned to recover with a massage She said: "You have no idea of the pain from neck to toe but I crossed that line with a smile."

She ran her previous marathon in aid of a children’s leukemia charity, but said she has no plans to do it again.

She said: "I think I’m done.

"I wanted to beat my time, and I beat it dramatically, and I wanted to run for that cause."

St Albans man Ralph Bartholomew, a web designer for University College London, raised more than £2,000 and completed the course in four hours and 24 minutes.

He said: "It was a brilliant day.

"The main thing was to run the whole way, which I did, and that was a really good sense of accomplishment."

Originally from the USA, the 43-year-old entered the marathon in aid of Crimestoppers after his wife’s handbag was stolen as part of a distraction burglary.

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Ralph Bartholomew

Mr Batholomew’s wife and their two children came out to support him, while his family in the US tracked his progress via a GPS enabled phone.

He said: "The noise of the crowds and supporters along the way was deafening, they were relentless.

"I heard my name being called two or three hundred times - it’s the closest anyone can come to being a professional athlete, that level of support."

Jordine Bartlett, a 27-year-old marketing executive from Wheathampstead, has so far raised £1,500 for the charity Children with Cancer but hopes to hit £2,000 before July, when her fundraising page closes.

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Woman set to run London Marathon for Children with CancerJordine Bartlett

A first time marathon runner, Ms Bartlett finished in four hours and 49 minutes, just missing her target of four and a half hours.

She said: "It went really, really well. You go through so many different emotions.

"One of the highlights was approaching Tower Bridge - as you come round the corner you just hear this massive roar of people cheering and shouting."

With friends and family out in force to support her, Ms Bartlett said cheering from the crowds kept her going, and she turned off her music halfway round to enjoy the atmosphere.

She said: "At mile 19, in Canary Wharf, I saw my mum and she was just screaming ‘I’m so proud of you’.

"When I finally crossed the line I thought I was going to be so emotional but I was just exhausted."