My Virgin London Marathon mission
Let me take you back to April 17th 2016 where this journey technically began. I watch the marathon every year, I have great admiration for the thousands of everyday folks who put their body through 26.2 miles of torture (never mind the actual training), more often than not to raise money and awareness for excellent causes. I watch from afar having not run a marathon since 2012 and before that 2006, each year I have a slight pang of desire, but the pain of previous efforts usually override anything else.
In August 2015 I lost my Grandfather to Prostate Cancer. He had been battling it for many years but as he got older it finally took control. He went on his terms, he made cancer wait until he was ready. I found on out January 1st 2015 that he had been told he didn’t have long to go, at the time he was given a couple of months at the most, so to hold out for more than 3 times that is a testament to his fight and also his stubbornness.
When I found out the news, it hurt, of course, it hurt. For a few days I really didn’t know what to do with myself, then I decided. I wasn’t going to sit around and watch my Grandfather slip away and do nothing about it. I was going to fight for him, I rallied some friends and we spent most of that year training and competing in events such as Tough Mudder and Men’s health survival of the fittest to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. By the time it was all over in October, I was a broken man, physically and mentally. I felt proud that I had been able to do something to make a difference but I had an empty tank.
Can I run another marathon?
Fast forward to April 2016. As I sat there watching the TV, early on a Sunday morning, I found myself thinking “should I try again?” Was I absorbed in the ‘moment’? I assumed that at some point I’d remember how much it hurts again and forget all about it. I didn’t.
A few weeks later the ballot open, I threw my proverbial hat into the ring but from that point on it is around 5 months until you hear whether or not you have been successful. There is no guarantee that you will be accepted, it’s a random ballot and the volume of applications for the London Marathon massively outweigh the number of entrants. I decided after a few months that I would start to train a little, so I could be ahead of the game if I got the call in October. Once I started running again I remembered how much I enjoyed it (most of the time). I started to feel fitter again, it’s been a lovely summer so I was out in the sun and having a great time.
When the ballot results were announced I was unsuccessful and felt a little disappointed. A few hours later I got a phone call from Prostate Cancer UK inviting me to run for them in the marathon. I didn’t hesitate to accept. I felt my pride levels rise a bit, back in the game! Now the serious work begins.
As I write this, it is 12 weeks exactly until the big day, April 23rd, St Georges Day. Training is long, hard, cold, energy and morale sapping, painful and more, I could go on all day. I’ve been running regularly since I was accepted. I’m starting to feel the odd niggle lately, it might be old age but I’m hoping not! I’ve committed to raising money as part of my guaranteed Virgin London Marathon place which takes time and planning, so as you can see, the whole marathon process is quite difficult.
I’m ready for the challenges, bring them all on. This will likely be my final marathon (words that I have uttered before), I’m going to do the best I possibly can so that if it is my final hurrah, I go out in style. I want to beat the times of my previous two marathons. I’d like to raise more money than I have before in any fundraising.
I want to do all of this, for my Grandad.
Follow all of my training updates via the blog and also over on my Youtube channel. You get to see the pained expression on my face after each run!