It felt like I wasn’t actually running a marathon, more that I was simply joining a sea of humanity. So many people, supporting so many charities and creating an atmosphere I could only liken to a rock festival. Yet in all the fun and jollity, most of the 40,000 runners who make this race what it is were putting themselves through a physical hell to achieve remarkable personal and fundraising goals.
I completed the race in 4 hours 43 minutes and I was pleased with that. But from 20 miles in, I was hanging on for dear life. By 24 miles my body had all but given up. Only my head and the thousands of people who gave their support so brilliantly through the streets would not let me give up. In my head I thought if I walked I would not be able to run again. I felt so tired that this actually felt possible. The well-wishers lining the course shouting “Come on Mark”, “You are looking good, keep going” and “Nearly there, you are doing well” meant so much. I cannot describe what a few simple words of encouragement does when you have nothing left but words of encouragement from strangers.
The Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 was hot. I guess many are, as the April sun breaks through, lifting us out of Spring and leading us to Summer time. Grateful though I was for good weather, I (like everyone else) had only actually trained in predominantly winter weather. Most of January and early February’s running was done in freezing conditions. It rained sideways on a 15-mile run where the windspeed was registering 25mph. Other times, the paths were frozen by the time I headed out at around 7pm after work for runs lasting 2 hours+. To run in the sun was a pleasant surprise, but certainly sapped my energy and also left me with some decent sunburn!
But I did it. It was hard. It was agony. It was ecstasy. On the finishing line I swore to myself I would never do another. About four days later I entered the ballot to do it again, the logic being that now I have done it, I can do it better. Insanity.
I raised at least £2,310 for Leukaemia Care (money is still trickling in!) and I’m proud of that too. It’s been an amazing journey so far. I’d like to thank my wife Sara and my training partner Samuel Burton for keeping me motivated. I also want to give my sincere thanks to those who sponsored me, I hit my fundraising target and achieved a good finish time on the day. Success!
Here’s to the next one… If there is a next one…