Running a marathon is a big commitment and one that I found in equal measures daunting and exciting. I decided to enter because I wanted to raise money for a charity that is very important to me and I was lucky to gain a place in the 2019 London Marathon representing the Dementia Revolution. From the minute I found out I had gained a place, the training and fundraising began.
I took it seriously as you can imagine; carefully following a training programme and gradually building up my distance, along with arranging various fundraising events along the way. Unfortunately, eight weeks before the marathon I suffered an injury to my knee and was advised to stop running and participate in some rehabilitation. I took the advice and had to put my running on hold. It was a real challenge for me as I knew that I was missing out on vital miles and that I might not run the race as quickly as I had hoped. Four weeks before the marathon I started to build up my distance again even though I knew that I was behind in my training schedule. I had to recalibrate my expectations but there was no way I was going to let down my fundraisers and miss out on an opportunity to 'run London'. I headed down to London on Saturday, picked up my number and observed the many thousands of people who were all doing the same. I was inspired by how many people were raising money for charities that were close to their hearts and even more amazed by the support on the day from all the spectators.
The marathon day arrived and I woke up early, motivated by a hearty breakfast that would give me enough energy to last 26.2 miles. Two bowls of porridge and two bananas later and I was ready to make my way to the start. I waited in the holding pen for over 45 minutes with thousands of other nervous runners, many who were also running their very first marathon. I finally began my race at 11am and took my first steps into what would be a very long run!
I ran fifteen miles, over Tower Bridge before my injury started to re-appear and I felt the pain in my knee. I was determined to continue but had to slow my pace right down. The crowd were fantastic at encouraging all of the runners along and they played a critical part in helping me run the final few miles.
I was extremely proud to be able to cross the finish line and pick up my medal after 26.2 miles along with over 40,000 other runners and I am so pleased that I have personally raised over £3,000 for Dementia Research and been part of a group of runners who this year alone have raised over £20,922,404 for many charities.
Every one of those runners will be facing their own individual challenge; for me it was the injury, for some it will have been simply getting round and even for the elite athletes it will be a PB or placing in the top 20 (I’m sure you all saw the footage of Hayley Carruthers who finished 18th by crawling across the finish line). It is hard and it takes resilience and focus to rise to your personal set of challenges, and I’m proud to say I did.