Well what an adventure I have been on since supporting Mr Weighell on his marathon journey last October. It was whilst I stood waiting for him to come through Cutty Sark, listening to the cheers and excitement of every other spectator around me, that the seed was planted and I was going to try and get a place for 2023.
From that moment, it has not been a very easy journey, I didn’t get a place in the ballot so had to try and earn a place through a charity. I wanted to focus on a charity that supported people and their families with dementia, as the illness was something as a family we have had to navigate through, since 1991. It took three attempts but eventually the Alzheimer’s Society offered me the chance to promote, fundraise and run for them, and I have been honoured to do so.
And then the realisation hit me – at this time the most I could run was 5K at the parkrun so there was a lot of work to do. I found a training plan and everything was in place to begin. The Christmas holiday came and with it a virus that knocked me for six, so I had to delay the start of the programme. Dark nights, rain and snow had to be overcome so now there is a treadmill in my garage. Niggles, injuries and another respiratory virus in February, all put hurdles in front of me so much so, that in my training I only managed 13miles, half marathon distance, instead of the 20miles I was hoping to reach.
There was a moment when I considered deferring my place until 2024, but along with the training there was also the fundraising that had to be done. I had promised to raise £2500 for the charity, and people had already started to donate to my just giving page, cake sales, samosa sales, raffles had taken place and more money was being pledged from other events around school and from friends and family. I couldn’t give up now!
I will never be able to describe the day itself, the camaraderie amongst runners and their supporters is something else. The thousands of people that line the streets and shout your name and encourage you, even though they don’t know you. The children that are ready to give you a power surging high-five or their sweets. And then there’s your family, friends that are waiting on the side lines to shout louder than anyone else and to give you that much needed hug when every muscle in your body aches and your feet are screaming at you to stop. There’s nothing to match the emotions that you feel on the day.
The generosity of family, friends, colleagues and complete strangers has been completely overwhelming. Donations and pledges to my just giving page will take me well past my target to over £3,350 and I will never be able to express my gratitude for that support.
So what’s next .. well I’m waiting for my feet to recover before I make any rash decisions and I’m going to revel in my achievement of completing a marathon, in less than 6 hours, despite everything that was thrown at me along the way. I hope that the students in school – especially those that are about to face their final exams, can take from my marathon adventure that no matter what hurdles are put in front of us, with hard work, determination, resilience and commitment we can achieve anything, even if we’re not very good at it when we begin that challenge!