Anyone running in tomorrow's London Marathon is getting free rail travel on a rail network connecting Essex and east London.

c2c is letting participants on its trains for free when they show their official race number or finisher’s medal.

Some of the c2c staff themselves are also taking part, like Emma Webster running for the first time.

 “This is a challenge I have been keen to take on for many years,” she said. “I have now been given the chance.”

The quality service manager is raising funds for London's Air Ambulance charity for a new helicopter at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

c2c managing director Rob Mullen, a keen runner himself, said: “This is our little way of saying ‘thank you’ to those raising funds for charities.”

The company is also laying on an early-morning ‘Volunteer Special’ for 150 marathon volunteers to steward the race along the 26-mile route, co-ordinated by Essex runner Nigel Pointer and the Flyers Southend running group.

The train from Shoeburyness is stopping at Limehouse and Fenchurch Street, close to the marathon route.