As a result of my first marathon, I ran a 3.35, choked back my tears, sat down shortly after finishing, and threw up repeatedly into a plastic bag. Like many of those that train for marathons, I ran every training run alone, spent time raising money for charity, and had no real idea what to expect on the day. All I could see ahead was the looming doom, and despite the miles in my legs, I found it hard to rationalise my fear into something tamable.
On the morning of the 2013 London Marathon, I called my Dad for what was, in my mind, potentially our last ever phone call. As ridiculous as this sounds, this is the only way I could place my fear into something I’d never experienced. Obviously, I didn’t die that day, whilst this was much to my surprise, and instead of the horrific experience I expected, I witnessed the city I was fairly new to, come together. Streets were filled with supporters that carried every age and ability of runner to the finish line with the impact of their cheers.
Though extremely tough, it was, and still is, one of my favourite memories, and felt like a nod to my to one of my Brother’s, Eden, to thank him for getting me into running after he ran this race a few years earlier. In seeing him train, and show so much dedication, an intrigued spark was lit. Through that motivation, running has complimented and pushed my life in immeasurable immeasurable ways. We’ve also been able to then pass this running bug on to my eldest sibling, Liam, and watch him with pride as he ran his first marathon last week. So, in a roundabout way, London is kind of a confetti filled anniversary for me in that respect. I’m now counting down the hours to run my 5th marathon, and 3rd time running the London route, but for me, the fear I experienced the first time around is still there. It may be easier to contain, I may be more able to understand it, but it won’t go away, and I don’t necessarily feel as though it should. Fear may often be an unnerving thing to have sitting within your chest, but it’s a result of being human, and I guess it’s a case of bouncing off it, using it, channeling it.
This year I start from a Championship pen, which is treated a little more strictly than a normal start as we are essentially ‘competing’. I don’t necessarily feel that my athleticism is comparable to the athletic prowess of some of the girls that will be standing by me, but despite this, my passion is just as real, I’m grateful to be amongst a number of strong women, and am also respectful of the word patience in terms of my own progression. Whilst I’ve been a little ill, I’m determined to look ahead, run my hardest, and just enjoy tomorrow’s race. After all, it’s a celebration of one of the cities I am proud to call home, and there will be an assortment of 30000 people running it.