In just over five months I’ll be running the London Marathon – a daunting prospect given that I’m writing this whilst nursing a horrendous cold which means I barely feel able to run up the stairs!
I’ve always thought of the London Marathon as the pinnacle of achievement for a runner. This is no doubt influenced by a childhood punctuated by trips to London to watch my dad compete – he ran London four times, once in a pretty astonishing time of 3 hours and 1 minute. It was something other people did, real athletes not mere mortals like me. Even when I took up running a few years ago I didn’t ever contemplate running a marathon, let alone London!
Running is however, as any runner will tell you, incredibly addictive. Within the space of two years I’ve gone from struggling to run a mile to completing my first half marathon. I’ve even joined a running club and suddenly a marathon started to seem like something I might conceivably be able to do. Maybe. One day…
Knowing that my big brother had a London place for 2017 I put my name in the ballot way back in May. I knew that the chances of getting in were tiny so it wasn’t a real commitment. I then spent the summer training for my first half marathon, marvelling every time I managed to go a mile further than before. Suddenly, the prospect of running London seemed quite exciting – after all, if I could train to run 13 miles then surely I could train to run 26?
At the same time as I was debating how far I thought I could run my mum was facing major surgery. In 2015 she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and told she needed a hip replacement. After a year on the waiting list her operation was scheduled for October 2016. Luckily my parents live very close to one of the UK’s leading orthopaedic hospitals – the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital (RJAH) near Oswestry – which meant that, whilst the operation was a big deal, we could all be reassured that she was getting the best possible standard of treatment and care. The operation went well but the road to recovery is long and hard – something I know she finds incredibly frustrating. She’s written extensively about her operation and recovery on her blog which is very much worth a read.
Of course, after getting excited about the prospect of running London I didn’t get a place through the ballot. But I’m incredibly lucky as instead I have a charity place to run for RJAH. It’s a cause that’s close to my heart – not only has my mum had incredible treatment there but they’ve also in the past treated several other members of my family, allowing both my Dad and my Aunty Ann to continue to lead full and active lives. I live in constant fear of getting injured as running and triathlon are such a big part of my life. Knowing that world-class expertise in orthopaedics such as that found at RJAH is to be found relatively close to home makes that fear somewhat more manageable.
So I have a date with the London Marathon on the 23rd April 2017 for an extremely good cause – if you are able to support me in any way please consider donating to my fundraising page at:
Also, please do share both your marathon training and cold-banishing tips with me as I need both pretty badly at the moment!