The London Marathon - WHAT A DAY!!!
The amazing crowds are everything that you hear about...... and then some!! They were large in number, loud in volume and generous with their handouts of sweets, fruit, drink and encouragement on the way around!
I was a late entrant into London Marathon this year. I had missed out on the ballot and resigned myself to trying next year (as I have done for the last 7 years, since I last ran it for Dreams Come True in 2010).
A work colleague had showed an interest in running London this year, and also missed out on the ballot, so I put her in contact with Dreams Come True, With just 2 months to go, she injured her knee and was told by her doctor that should could not run it and would require surgery. Disappointed, and worried about letting the charity down, she asked me to take her place. My initial reaction was to say no, as I was already running Disney Marathon and Tokyo Marathon for 4 different charities (including Dreams Come True) and was worried that I would not be able to raise the funds.
A few days later, I felt that I could do it and opted to take the challenge on (both the run and the fundraising!!) at the very last minute....... and I am so glad that I did!!
I ramped up the fundraising and devised some sweepstakes, based on my finishing time, to generate some more interest. The last of the sweepstakes sold out on Friday! The added bonus was that I was within £100 of my fundraising goal by race day, so I knew that I would achieve that by the time the race had concluded, which meant that I could focus on the run itself.
The Expo was brilliant. I met up with the Dream Team and listened to some experts talking about race pacing and nutrition (both of which had a massive impact on race day) and set off to treat myself to a large plate of chicken and noodles and a couple of beers (I like to think of them as fun carbs!)
Race day was everything I could have asked for!! I woke up feeling excited, rather than apprehensive, as I have for previous marathons. I met up with another work colleague at Greenwich and helped her stay calm and prepare her for what to expect, as she was running her first marathon.
I always take my camera to capture the magic moments on the run, and made it my goal to take a photo of every member of the "Dream Team" and the Dreams Come True support team (plus my best friend who had come up to support me) on the way round. I also got great photos of the amazing costumed runners (including Mr Potato Head, a Womble, a tree, a rescue helicopter and a man carrying a tumble dryer!!) and some famous faces (the inspiring members of the Mind over Marathon TV programme, Colin Jackson and Nick Knowles).
The added bonus of the photo's is that they show my friends and family where I am and what I'm up to, which generated that final £100 (and more) on race day.
I also had my phone with me, that was constantly receiving messages of support via text and social media, which really inspired me and kept me going..... Especially the one with the promise of an extra £100 if I beat my goal of 5 hours (I did!!!). I also saw the online donations coming in which spurred me on a bit more!!
The amazing crowds are everything that you hear about...... and then some!! They were large in number, loud in volume and generous with their handouts of sweets, fruit, drink and encouragement on the way around!!!
I missed my Personal Best by 3 minutes...... but I didn't care!! It was worth it to spend that extra bit of time talking to other runners and those that came to support me.
When THAT finish line came into view...... it's hard to explain...... the energy lifts with the screams of the crowd and I went for it, with my Dreams Come True flag held high above my head!!
I ran in the memory of my parents, Margaret and Terry and my friend Martin (Sideburns), for Hannah (whose place I was lucky enough to inherit) and in the knowledge that some young people will have their dream granted. I finished, having smiled for the entire 26.2 miles, knowing that I had done them all proud!! I am always proud to run for this incredible charity..... I've been lucky enough to meet some of the children that have had their wishes granted and I know what a difference it means to them.
On Sunday 23rd April 2017..... my dream came true, too!!!
Thank you, Dreams Come True, for that opportunity!!!