First of all I want to say a huge thank you to everybody that sponsored me. I have managed to raise close to a staggering £1600 for the Brain Tumour Charity and Cancer Research charities.
Too be honest i’m still in shock, I simply can’t believe how much has been donated. You are all amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you…..
This year I took a different approach to my training. Rather than plodding along the pavements on my lonesome I decided I would enter as many runs as I could fit in.
This approach has seen my set PB’s at the Brighton, Worthing and Surrey Half marathons. I’ve also taken part in trail marathons, the Steyning Stinger and also an ultra, the 30 mile winter tanners.
And of course not to forget my favourites, the Brutal 10k off road runs.
It took some real will power not to take on the Brighton marathon as well, I can tell you !
With all this training in the bag I should have felt pretty confident, but as usual the night before I was laid in bed unable to sleep with all the doubts creeping in.
I was up by 5:30, and on the train into London by 7. I wasn’t too sure of the route, but I had been told just to follow the crowd. They weren’t wrong, runners everywhere. I followed them onto the red start, had a drink, got changed and handed my bag over. No going back now !
I lined up in my start pen, in amongst superman, a smurf and upsy daisy. Just your usual day at the office. It did make me wonder if these guys had trained in their costumes !
The race was started at 10 and we slowly, very slowly moved to the start. I think I managed to cross the start line at about 10:30 ish ?
Having seen the starts on TV, the red start definitely has the raw deal. It’s very confined and on much smaller roads (excuse number 1).
I crossed the line and we were off, the first few miles flew by. Lots of people at the road side cheering us all on already. Through residential areas with people cheering from balconies and all sorts.
The courses joined at 3 miles, we cheered the other runners and they cheered us as well all came together.
People have asked me what the atmosphere was like, well I thought it was fantastic already, but then we arrived at Cutty Sark. Oh my, you needed ear plugs it was so loud ! Just incredible, no other words to describe it !
Onwards we went and soon arrived at Tower Bridge at mile 12, I was feeling great, running well within myself enjoying the atmosphere.
I crossed the half way point where a deafening band were playing and looked at my watch. I was on target for a PB of somewhere between a 4:15 and a 4:30. But then I got to mile 14 and it all started to fall apart. How can 1 mile make such a difference ?
It started with really bad pains in my toes, then a feeling of no energy and nothing to give. Which was weird because I had made sure I was drinking and taking on board energy gels. I made it to mile 18 where Laura and Abigail where helping out at a water station. It was there that I realised I was really struggling with my breathing. I had a drink, another gel and a quick chat with everyone. Then it was time to make a move before I seized up.
Sometime shortly afterwards I recognised Terry up ahead. I caught him up and said hi. But from that point on I would have to run for a period, then walk to catch my breath, it felt like it was getting worse. I’d catch Terry, pass him and then have to stop and he would pass me and get away again. This went on for quite a few miles.
I gave it all I had believe me, looked down at my watch and thought 25miles… Yes 1 more to go !
Only then to realise shortly afterwards that my watch was a mile out, I still had 2 miles to go. NOOOOO….
The closer we got to the finish the wilder the crowds got. High fives, lots of “you can do this”, “you are incredible” it really spurs you on during those during those dark “I can’t do this” moments.
As I turned the corner, the finish line was in site. I spotted 4 guys in a fire engine outfit and decided there was absolutely no way you are going to cross the line before me. I dug in, crying my heart out as I crossed the line. I’d done it.
People often ask me what it’s like to run a marathon. I always say it’s one of the best, hardest, and emotional things you can do all rolled into one. This was one certainly hard and it was most definitely emotional, but it was also an incredible experience. I’m still welling up at the fact I took part and managed to finish.
My finishing time was 5hours 10minutes, not what I was after but I guess it gives me an excuse to go back and try again and hopefully beat those demons. I’m still looking for that sub 4hours 30 finish, I am so close !
A final thank you to Henfield Joggers for keeping me focused, and my family, Laura, Abigail & Hayden for their support and understanding.