When I was younger, I used to believe that the only reason to run was if you were being chased by a large bear or something. I would see people running and think they were either a little bit crazy, or incredibly fit, However 2 years ago I entered a 5km fun run with some friends and it changed my outlook on running completely. From running around a course in the dark, dressed head to toe in neon and glowsticks I felt such a buzz and my thoughts changed to – This is amazing, I need to start running!!
To start with I was slow and could not run far at all before needing to stop, red faced and out of breath. I continued to go out on the occasional run slowly getting fitter and able to run much further than when I’d first started. Even stranger I found that I had actually started to enjoy it more and more! Then last year in an attempt to push myself more and to help raise money for The Outward Bound Trust I entered and completed two half marathons and managed to raise a few hundred pounds in the process! These were an incredible achievement for myself and made me think If I could do those what else was I capable of doing. The next step I decided was to sign up for a marathon. Something that I had always thought would be an amazing achievement but never in a million years believed it would be something I would be capable of doing.
Heading to Manchester
The Manchester Marathon, advertised itself as the flattest, fastest and friendliest marathon and a great one for first timers to do. This was the one for me! I started out trying to follow training plans but found I could not stick to them so instead I just went out either on my own or with friends and did a variety of road and trail running for my training. I’ll admit there were many cold wet dark nights where I should’ve gone out but decided to stay inside by the nice warm fire instead and as a result did not do anywhere near the amount of training I should’ve done. I did learn one key thing though that I realised on the day around mile 21 – Its amazing what the body can do, when the mind really pushes it!!
The day of the marathon came around a lot quicker than I liked and before I knew it I was stood at the start line with my fellow Buxtoner Rob and thousands of other people, feeling both excited and nervous and thinking ‘Lets do this!!’
Let’s do this!
For the first half of the course I actually found myself having fun, I was loving it! The atmosphere and support from the marshals and the crowd was incredible! People of all ages were giving out high 5s, sweets even jaffa cakes and cheering you on, which really gave you a boost.
Until mile 16 I was really enjoying myself. At mile 17 however I found myself for the first time experiencing the dreaded wall! By this point i was physically exhausted! I knew I had to keep going, constantly telling myself every appropriate motivational quote I could think of. Somehow this seemed to work even if the mile markers seemed to be getting further and further apart.
By mile 23 though I knew I was nearly there and I pushed on. Towards the last mile I ran up and over a bridge, around a corner and the finish was in sight far in the distance,
The last mile…
I hobbled the last mile, my legs and feet now rather sore and tired, knowing I couldn’t stop now, especially in front of such a large crowd, I ran through the finish line at 4hrs 56mins, collected my medal, goodie bag, my new T shirt and felt a strange and overwhelming combination of happiness, shock, relief and in a strange way sadness that it was over, Id just run my first marathon. Im not ashamed to admit that at this point through all these emotions, I burst into tears feeling so proud of myself for achieving something that only a year ago I never imagined I would be able to do.
Living life adventurously
Just goes to show, with a little determination, motivation and a desire to live life adventurously, its amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it! Im already looking at other events to take part in but for now I’m going to enjoy a nice rest! Thank you to Go Ape Adventure Fund for funding my entry and to my friends, family and to my Buxton tribe for all their support and encouragement! I couldn’t have done it without it! 🙂