I should give you a bit of background. I am not a distance runner. I’m stocky with short stumpy legs. At the beginning of this year I was 19st7lbs. In my usual insane manner I decided to set myself a fitness goal. I decided to sign up for the Chelmsford marathon. It is new and only has two thousands places so is pretty small and quiet. That helped get me motivated. Rolling forward to the start of may and I’m down to 16st4lbs. That’s some achievement. I’ve also managed to sluggishly manage to run over a mile without stopping (Asthma and a neglected body didn’t help). My lovely wife spots a post by The Nystagmus Network saying they need runners to fill places in the BUPA London 10k race. My son has Nystagmus. It is an eye condition that can cause some hardships but can also lead to other eye conditions. I couldn’t turn that down. Raising charity for a group of people who’s advice has really helped us is important. I don’t want other parents to miss out on the support available.
On to the day. I don’t like crowds. I don’t even like standing in queues. I also don’t like contact with other people (my immediate family aside). Somehow my brain managed to blot the potential issues out until I was being funnelled into what felt like a moving sheep pen. As you can see from the picture above there was no personal space. I already had a heavy cold and the stress of being that close to so many people for forty five minutes before the start really wore on me (folding my arms across my body did not help). A great start.
Finally we started moving as the race began. I ran past Mo Farah (he was starting the race). I’ve only ever run by myself late at night. I had no control over my pace for at least the first kilometre. I settled in to a rhythm and then my nose started running and I started to cough. This lasted about another kilometre. I walked for a bit as fast as I could before jogging again. Then just before half way I started feeling really ill. Luckily there were toilets out on the course and I felt a lot better after a visit. I didn’t take any chances at the drinks stations. I slowed to a walk to grab and drink before running again.
I staggered across the line in about one hour twenty five minutes. No final sprint for the cameras for me. I was a mess. I didn’t really know where I was. The Lucozade in the goodie bag was very timely. I sat down for a few minutes to sort myself out. All of this aside this was the first time out of any of my runs that I have managed an average of under fourteen minutes per mile.
This run was a struggle for me but as I was ambling round the course I kept looking at the charities people were running for. Every single one of them was deserving. Every person running a hero. There were a couple of groups I saw that were obviously running for recently departed family and friends. That made me choke up as well. It saddens me that so many of these charities need to exist but whilst they do they are important. It also makes me feel great to see so many people young and old from all kinds of backgrounds running together. I’d also like to say thanks to anybody along the side of the road cheIering people on. At least twice I felt like giving up but didn’t because of them.
In conclusion I’m glad I did it but don’t ever plan doing such a busy race ever again. The course was stunning. The views alone were were worth the suffering. I now have an idea of just how much more work I have to put in before I do the marathon. Oh and weirdly the muscle group that ached the most the next day was my shoulders. Time to work on my upper body a bit more too.