Thursday, 18 January 2018
It's no secret that I applied to run the London Marathon this year. To be fair at the time I really did want to take part. I knew that ballot entry was a long shot but it’s not unknown for first timers to get in.
As October drew nearer and results of the draw were imminent I’d begun to change my mind. When the magazine finally dropped through the letterbox I was praying I’d been unsuccessful. On seeing the word ‘Sorry’ I breathed a huge sigh of relief, what had I been thinking?
My change of heart came about for a variety of reasons but it was running the Birmingham Half Marathon last October that really swayed me. Despite being proud of my achievement and enjoying taking part, I didn’t like the razzmatazz that went with it. Realising that I was amongst around 9,000 marathon runners and 12,000 half marathon competitors didn’t excite me. Knowing that for London Marathon there would be more than 40,000 filled me with dread.
I’ve already blogged about my half marathon so won’t go on but we were so packed in at times it wasn’t possible to run at a steady pace. Having trained so hard for so long I’d always intended to not only complete it but to compete in it. Therefore once I’d received my ‘No’ from London I set out to find the most suitable full marathon course for my first attempt at the distance.
In the meantime I was getting frequent messages of sympathy about being unsuccessful with a London place together with advice about securing one through the big charities. This however was another of the reasons I was now firmly against entering this event. I have signed up to run for two of the charities that mean most to me but they don’t have the kind of money needed to get charity runners into London. Why then would I turn my back on them and attempt to raise on average £2,000 for an organisation I have no affiliation with. This was a big deal to me.
When (or should I say if) I cross that marathon finish line it will be the end of a very difficult journey.
In March 2018 I will celebrate the most significant cancerversary, the 5 year goal. I’m careful not to tempt fate by saying 5 years free but rather since diagnosis and so far so good. Running has been my greatest escape and also given me a goal. I’m running away from cancer and towards a healthier future. Being able to complete a marathon will reaffirm my fitness level and further smash away those nagging doubts about stowaways. More than that I will cross the line knowing I’ve given something back to the charities that have helped and supported me through the past 5 years.
I had to give my full marathon choice some considerable thought; not too big, not too far away, not too commercial, at the right time of year. I needed it to be just about the run. I’d hovered over one particular location for a while, everything fitted the bill but there was one more plus.
The Shakespeare Marathon in Stratford on Avon has an entry limit of 4,000, it’s run in May and organised by the Rotary Club who donate more than half the money raised to local charities. All of these tick a box for me but the added extra is that as I’m writing a book about my experience, what better inspiration to follow than the bard himself.
There it is, I’m signed up and ready to train for the big one, my first full
marathon on Sunday 13th May, 2018
Wish me luck!