Why the London Marathon is one of the best things you’ll ever do
I’ve never been so nervous in my life.
I was standing there in red pen nine, ready to run, and the reality of it all hit me. I was actually about to run the London Marathon, THE London Marathon.
I’ve always been in awe of the runners that take part. But never in a million years did I really think I would be fit enough to do it myself. It always just felt like something amazing someone else might do, not me.
I remember when I was at university and daydreaming once about how great it would be, when someone said to me ‘You’ll never do the London Marathon Debs’ and those words stuck with me. Never tell anyone they can’t or won’t do something. Anything is possible, with the right motivation.
And the motivation I had to run the marathon was a very personal one.
I was bitten by the running bug at the beginning of 2015, when I was looking for a new ‘hobby’ to distract me from the pressures of a close family member having developed Alzheimer’s.
It was a way to also keep fit, a new way to challenge myself physically and mentally, and it meant I could raise money for charities close to my heart when taking part in my first ever 10k race, half marathon and, ultimately, the London Marathon.
My running has taken me on a journey over the last 16 months, one which has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. And now I’m addicted.
The London Marathon is undoubtedly one of the best things I’ve ever done. And the power sport has to inspire, motivate, and energise is incredible – never to be underestimated.
Likewise, the generosity of people (through sponsorship) and the encouragement you get in the build up to the run from family and friends, and from complete strangers lining the iconic route on the day itself, is overwhelming.
Miles 14-16 and mile 25 were the hardest. It was a mental block for me just over the half-way point, when I started aching and of course knew I had to run the same distance again. Strangely though you do get past it, and manage to keep going. At mile 25, that’s when I very nearly started feeling emotional (through tiredness).
Then you have the excruciating countdown at the end, 800 yards to go, 600 yards to go and so on –that makes the last stretch seem to last forever!
When I crossed the finish line I actually asked one of the volunteers ‘can I stop running now?’ for the simple reason that after all the will power it took to get myself through the 26.2 miles, it then felt bizarre (and a bit of a luxury) to be able to stop. That was it then. Done!
What an achievement. I did this. I have the medal and the t-shirt to prove it. And I have entered the ballot for 2017, because for me, running over Tower Bridge and along the Embankment was too good an experience not to repeat. The crowds were unbelievable.
So, why should you do it? It leaves you on the most incredible high. You achieve so much.
And so, I’ll sign off with two final points – firstly, a big thank you to everyone who helped me raise over £1,900 for Carers UK. Secondly, as a PR and a participant, I take my hat off to the person who made the #oneinamillion #2ndmillion campaign happen. I have now ordered my #2ndmillion t-shirt (being the 1,000,668 runner to finish the race since it first began in 1981).