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Marathon Journey Chapter 3

Well talk about putting something off – this must stand out as a record ! I started this on October 9th – where does the time go ?  So my apologies but its really going to be a mash up of London Marathon, and next challenge/s .

On Sunday October 2nd 2022 at 16:47 I passed the finish line in what was probably one of the most exhilarating 5 hrs and 50 minutes of my life.  The strangest feelings take over your legs; although they are tired and physically you are quite shattered, your legs just seem to want to keep running – slowly I must admit, but they just want to keep moving.  There must actually be a ‘stopping distance’ for runners dependent upon the distance they have covered.  You can’t just stop dead.   But let’s not start at the finish, ‘cos that would be just too weird and a very short blog ! – lets go to the beginning.

A close friend said, “Why run when you can catch a bus ??”  To answer that I just simply have to refer to Laura’s saying, ”

For most of us with Cancer all we want is someone to fight with us and tell us that’s what they are doing !”

Laura, of course passed away in December 2019. She possessed the courage, faith, hope, and positivity that you can just stand back and admire.  She has 3 totally awesome daughters who are totally growing up in her image. When the going gets tough, or I don’t want to run, or I want to walk, or I want to stop ; she is there saying “You can do this!”  I run to celebrate your life and amazing courage.

I guess my running is my way of saying I am fighting with all those folk who are facing the most difficult times of their lives, either personally, family or friends. When I run I do definitely feel like giving up many times, but always in my head is “Dont be a ‘wuss’ you can do this.  All you’re doing is putting one foot in front of another – what can be tough about that compared to what some folk are going through – so I run !  I don’t particularly think, “Oh goody I’m going for a run!” but I guess there is something inside me that just drives me to go and run ! and believe me there are times when I REALLY don’t want to  !

 

So back to the London Marathon 2022.  Lots of people ask me “What was it like?” and my answer is always the same

“Probably one of the most exhilarating, exciting, challenging events that I have ever taken part in.!”

I apologise to those of you that i have totally bored with the story of the day but if I don’t write it down by tomorrow I’ll forget all about it ( it’s an age thing!) and I really don’t want to forget the day.

To start at the start – a very good place to start as someone once said …….I was fortunate that the son of some great friends of ours, Col and Steph, had a place in London in Finsbury Park so I could stay at his the night before.  This was partly through  making it easy to get to the start on the Sunday but also because of my previous history ( see previous blog ) that my friend said,

“I am  personally, going to put you on the train to make sure you get there on time, and I might even put a sign round your neck to make sure you get there.” 

Think he’s been reading too much Paddington Bear ! I mean as if I wouldn’t get there in time!!!!  So early doors, up and placed on the train. Caught the tube and then the connecting train to Blackheath Common.  They were four or five deep standing on the platform, all with their drop-off bag and most of them looking as nervous as I was. We packed onto the train.  It was like rush hour on a bad day – but with one big difference – everyone was talking with each other, polite, and not worrying if you were standing on somebody’s foot. Crammed in, literally standing face to face, stories flowed about why we were all running, and it was sort of then that I realised why I was attempting to run 26.2 miles. I met some amazing people just within the 2 or 3 stops to Blackheath Common. Meeting people like Rachel – who gave a donation to my Justgiving page –

“I met you on the underground on the way to the London Marathon ………. I have no doubt your daughter would be so proud of you – thinking of her little girls !”

Even walking from the start, chatting to another runner, who looked as though he’d lifted weights for years and run since he was six months old compared to the very old, skinny guy who just happened to rock up to the event; and hearing his excitement in undertaking his first London Marathon – similar minds if not bodies !   Standing in the middle of the common and looking around at all the people  getting ready with their outfits, drop-off bags, plastic bin liners , pre running exercises etc; each one with an incredible story to tell, I felt somewhat overwhelmed.

This time I just stood there and looked around; chatted with a group of first time runners. The sense of camaraderie was amazing.  Again a donation appears on my Justgiving page from Gillian and Kath,

It was so lovely to meet you at the start on Sunday.  Thank you for calming our nerves and helping with our ‘bin bag ponchos’  Massive congrats, an amazing achievement for an incredible cause!”

Just to explain, they had brought black bin liners as advised in order to keep warm while they waited, but as they slipped them over their heads realised that they hadn’t cut any holes in them for their head or arms. Should have taken a photo !!!

No sooner are you called to your “Wave and colour” and you are off on an incredible journey of 26.2 miles

Catch a bus ? – no thanks I’ll run !

Talking, gasping for breath, aching legs, aching body, – and that’s just within the first mile !!! Going past the man carrying a washing line, the Rhino and the Teddy Bear, the Penguin, the T”ree – well ok maybe they went past me but who’s counting!  Not only are the runners encouraging each other but the crowd are shouting your name and encouraging you as you run past

‘Go on Mike, you’ve got this ! Keep going” 

Who knew over three quarters of a million people would turn out to watch just me run !!!!  but that is honestly what it feels like.  And then of course you do have family and friends who also turn out to watch you – I do have to thank them all for their amazing support, generosity and just for being fantastic people who without them I definitely wouldn’t have been able to successfully complete the run.  Their support was just amazing ! Even friends who you didn’t know were going to be there and suddenly you hear your name shouted and you look;

“Whoa what you doing here – amazing – Hiya !”

 

and then you carry on to the next mile, and the next mile, and the next ……. all the sights of London zooming past you – well when I say zooming maybe just slowly going past but you get the idea

 

 

Jelly beans eaten, water stations gratefully accepted, sweets accepted, pieces of orange accepted, toilet stops declined – who knew I could go for 6 hours without going to the loo?   After 26 miles of just the most amazing time ever you approach Buckingham Palace and you think this is it, round the bend and run down the Mall.  In my mind I thought the run down the mall was the length of the Mall, but actually the finish comes much quicker than I thought.  I can honestly say that as I crossed the finish line I was looking around to see if I had actually finished – I thought I can’t turn to someone and say “Is that it?  Have I finished?” “No go on Do it again !” Sounds like a hob nob being dunked in your tea !  – (echoes of Peter Kay – if you know you know !) Very strange; my brain was just addled !

After that very bizarre moment you really want to shout out- “Yeeeeeeeee I’ve done it!” or grab someone to hug ; but that would have just been too weird. So you walk up through the other runners, accept your medal, take a shiny blanket and wrap it round yourself – even though you don’t really need it but Ive seen them do it on the tele !   And then I just stood and looked around. Feeling quite emotional I guess.  Feeling what have I just done? Feeling tired – no not really; I think the emotion takes over I guess.  When you finish, above the timing clock friends and family can put words up and through some clever technology they appear on the bridge over the timing clock.  If you’re running so fast as you go over the finish line (haha ) you don’t get to read them all but these were there for me as I crossed the line.  Again the old eyes start to blur, probably due to the sweat  and nothing at all to do with tears !!!!

I was met by Colin at the end and we walked to the rooms in the hotel that Bowelcanceruk had made available for the runners and their families.  At this point I do have to mention Bowelcanceruk, and just what an amazing organisation they are.  The support that I had was just brilliant.

Back at the hotel i met my family, friends and fellow runners who had now become close friends; absolutely the icing on the cake.

My family have been and continue to be my inspiration. There are just so many other people who had a hand in my running the marathon that it really was a team effort; the encouragement from my family; my friends; Bowelcanceruk; the people who donated in excess of £7,600 towards saving lives and improving the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer.

       

 

 

THANK YOU  TO EVERYONE

 

Would I do it again ? 

 

ABSOLUTELY – APRIL 2024 HERE I COME

What’s next, I hear you say – thanks for that !!!!!!!    well funny you should ask………

The plan is from January 2023 leading up to April 2024, to run in organised events, each month, 10km, Half Marathon or Marathon, a total of 300 miles overall.  Raising funds for Bowelcanceruk please. One run already completed at Tatton Park in January, next one is next week  The Winter Run in London.   As an amazing online friend of mine said recently,

“Want to know the biggest risk for Bowel Cancer ?

Age ? …………….. No

Diet? …………………No

Lifestyle ? ……………….No

 

It’s ……………

      Having a Bowel !!! 

           So I make no apologies ………. Donations page is open.

What happened to your face, nose and ribs – Don’t ask !!!!!!!!!   That’s in the next blog …..……..

 

 

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