Last weekend I was lucky enough to run the Virgin Money London Marathon. I am hugely grateful for the Anthony Nolan team who helped me with the training and guidance for the race day. It was brilliant. From Strava groups to team photos on the day, they managed to create a community of support for those who needed a helping hand or a boost.
Everyone’s marathon experience is different, but it is indeed an experience. It was extraordinary to see miles upon miles of people cheering for you to keep those legs going. Whether it is at mile two, where people are outside their houses handing out bacon sandwiches, or at mile 23 along Embankment, the support is incredible and second to none.
The level of support gained from the other runners too is incredible. As you run you see all types of people, each amazing. Some are ones you may recognise from TV, some dressed as rhinos, or others running with Spiderman on their back. The BBC recently reported that more than three-quarters of all runners at the London Marathon run to raise money for charity, which is a great sight to see. A marathon is an emotional experience, with people pushing themselves as far as they physically and mentally can. It’s tough, but the outcome, in the end, makes it all the worthwhile.
I’ve been asked what the best part of the marathon was, and there are many great things. The crowds, the support and of course, seeing family and friends is great, but my most memorable part was running in silence with a Dad. A dad whose name I don’t know, but he was running for his son. I read the back of his shirt and a quote from his son, so I put my hand on his shoulder and told him that he was doing great. Then we ran, side by side, just saying nothing. Matching our pace and taking in the atmosphere around us together.
Before Race Day someone said that this is our lap of victory, now I understand what they meant. You can’t get to race day without preparation, and you need a fair bit for a marathon. Especially if you are like me and you have gone from couch to marathon.
Since I started training, this is the preparation I undertook:
- I swan 1200 meters
- Took on 15 hours of classes and body workouts
- Cycled 101.15 miles, which is the equivalent of travelling from London Bridge to Calais
- Ran 146.86 miles which is the distance from London Bridge to Chesterfield or London Bridge to Dunkirk.
I cannot thank people enough for the support and for the donations. I have now raised an astonishing £2,356.70 for Anthony Nolan and thanks to you all, more lives can be saved thanks to people’s generosity.