17 weeks of training, 134 donations and words of encouragement, 42.4KM and 4 hours 44 Minutes of running and the challenge is complete!
For 17 weeks I have whinged about the training. Dragged others threw my every step. Those that know me well took the Marathon with a pinch of salt as they know I am not a runner in the slightest. They were right and it goes to prove a point that we can all achieve incomprehensible goals with perseverance, effort and support. The support has been heart-warming as has come in abundance and from all over the world from friends, family and complete strangers. Its this support that made sure I did the training to the letter. Its that support for the charity that added more motivation to the challenge. Its that support that got me across the finishing line on Sunday! Thank you to each and every one of you.
How was it?
Everything became real to me at the Expo 3 days before. Just walking in to pick my number up I felt emotional. Its at that point I realised that the training alone was an achievement. It was hard and testing, pushing the boundaries in the Ozzie heat! It was all in preparation for this one day in London. There seems to be a little bit of magic to the event as everyone you speak to is full of encouragement, words of advice and general good-will. The expo is full of everyone simply wanting to see every single person succeed. The sincerity behind this good will really touched me adding a spring in my step for the big day.
On the day I woke at 5am as prepared as I was ever going to be. Using the free public transport I joined ever increasing sizes of groups of marathon hopefuls. We were all talking to each other and wishing other well. Arriving at Greenwich Park passing the security gate I stand in the final zone 2 hours before the start. I had hoped for a cool day and got it. However it was a little too cold for those two hours. Despite this, I felt happy and prepared. There was no rush or issue and felt an anonymous camaraderie with the thousands of others stretching around me. The beginnings of the famous carnival atmosphere unfold as the BBC interview runners! Music and historical moments were played over the big screen too. Off to Zone 6 I am ushered and the our section of the race is about to begin.
We are off…..to a slow walk! It does take some time to gain speed. Even then you find yourself careful not to step on the heals of the people in front you as you slowly try to find a nice opening for your pre-planned marathon pace. Even at this early stage there are crowds of people lining the street and cheering. The kids are high-fiving when your within reach and banners and noise ease your task. I knew this would happen, but did not expect it this early! Moreover the streets were lined throughout the whole 26 miles. There were very few gaps over the course. I raise my hat to the spectators as it makes a massive difference. Don’t get me wrong the cheers for my West Ham kit were a lot less south of the river than in the East End! The East End was my biggest boost as I lost count the amount of times a West Ham song was started to acknowledge my kit! To be honest the first 10 miles I was going strong and really enjoying it!
18 Miles is where is went very wrong for me. I hit the wall!!! The legs were finished. Muscles were pulled and a walking step was agony! My body was telling me NO MORE! standing to the side to deal with this problem is hard with the crowds cheering you on. I try another couple of steps to satisfy those in the crowd and it is agony! I am done with a massive 8.2 miles still to go. At this point the challenge feels a lot harder than the whole 26.2 miles in the beginning. The rest of the race is a mental race. I told myself at this point that one way or another I will cross that line. I have not travelled from Australia to fail. Therefore if I am crossing it anyway it is logical to get it done as quick as is possible to minimise this pain. I made the decision to move my legs despite this pain one by one, non stop until this 8.2 miles has disappeared. I will not stop for anything or walk at all. Each step took so much from me to make, but found a determined rhythm. I continue slowly but steadily. At times I wanted to cry and to ask the massed crowd to turn a blind eye for 1 min so I can rest without anyone knowing. Obviously that would’ve been the worst thing for me and I simply moved with my fists clenched as a form of pain control moving one foot at a time. The amazing crowd get larger and more noisy correlating with the worse I feel. Many others are dropping out around me and I can feel my body willing me to join them. The final distance sounds impossible but must continue. Eating the sweets, drinking the water, thanking the cheers, the old legs keep begrudgingly moving for me edging closer and closer to the final stretch. One mile to go!!! Im not even excited as still feels to far. They count down 800 meters, 600 meters. The end is painfully slow. Then I see it. For the first time I know for certain I can do it. Crossing the line was a massive emotional step as I smile for the camera! I did it! I cant believe it, this hater of running has completed the London Marathon. What a result.
I don the famous foil coat and meander extremely slowly after as I cant ask anymore of my legs. I am spent, exhausted and in pain. However all this dwarfed by pride and exultation for succeeding the impossible. I would recommend this to anyone and in this case the charity below has benefited from this effort with over 6k and its still coming in.
Thank you to everyone for making this a reality for me and to everyone that has helped my cause of cause. I will never forget this.