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Bev’s Virgin London Marathon 2015 journey…

I loved all 26 miles, didn’t hit the wall, didn’t feel tired, had so much energy left at the end, I could’ve run another mile, if I had to though my legs might’ve objected somewhat!

The sun was shining and London was at its best.
I loved all 26 miles, didn’t hit the wall, didn’t feel tired, had so much energy left at the end, I could’ve run another mile, if I had to though my legs might’ve objected somewhat!

Here’s my London Marathon story…

I was fast approaching my 50th birthday and decided that I wanted to make it a year to remember. I looked around at what challenges I could do but I couldn’t find anything that I fancied.

After completing two Full Moons in London for the amazing Walk the Walk charity over the last four years, I still had a yearning to try and push myself a little more. I noticed on their Facebook page that they were offering people the opportunity of applying for one of their sponsored places for the Virgin London Marathon. In a very weak moment I decided to apply. To be really honest I never thought I would be successful. To my amazement I received a call a few weeks later to say that I was being offered one of their places. I clearly remember hanging up the phone and going through every emotion… amazement, elation, panic and then pure terror. What on earth was I thinking!?

I have to admit I got off to a really slow start and actually didn’t really start training and fund raising until the end of January as my mum had been quite ill. I knew nothing about training for running, nutrition, injuries, warm-ups, and warm downs -absolutely nothing. I wanted to follow the Walk the Walk Marathon Training Plan but tried to run instead of power walking and this is where the sudden realization came to me that I cannot run.

After a trip to the local specialised running shop I had new trainers, gels, protein packs and a GPS watch to help me keep my pace. My first “run” comprised of me spending more time getting myself ready in all my gear than the time that I managed to run. I found that trying to train on my own was so difficult but I joined a local running club and was able to run/jog/walk with some of their slower runners. Having taken part in two Full Moons I was actually a good power walker, so I was prepared to run/jog and power walk the Virgin London Marathon. It was not easy, although I could not have imagined how much of a toll it would take on my body! From swollen fingers, black toe nails, aching legs and the worst of all the ice baths.

The support I gained at the club was invaluable for me, as was the email group that was set up for the Walk the Walk participants. Regular emails were sent round and we all shared our pains, triumphs and encouraged each other right up until the actual day. The raising of the sponsorship was extremely daunting but after a few events the money came in and everyone was so very supportive especially when they knew I was raising funds for breast cancer. I also contacted local businesses and companies and they sponsored me in return for me displaying their logos on my running shorts.

I was very excited and emotional to be at the start of the Marathon and after meeting up with my fellow Walk the Walk entrants we approached the start line with trepidation, excitement and a real sense of achievement just to get to this point! It was a rather chilly day with light rain, apparently according to the “real runners” the weather was perfect for a marathon but as I pointed out they were not wearing just a bra ! After shedding my two extra layers and the black bin liner I was ready for the challenge.

One of my fellow Walk the Walk participants was a really good runner and had previously run 18 miles so I joined her saying my maximum was 3 miles so we could keep each company for a while. We left Greenwich to a really supportive crowd that was shouting my name and my new running buddy Jenny. The support from the crowd never stopped, the whole route was lined with people shouting encouragement and at times the noise of the crowd shouting our names was immense. My family popped up at three different locations which was so wonderful.

I was completely surprised by the support of the crowd, what an atmosphere! Fellow runners took selfies with us and congratulated us on running for such a fantastic charity. The support was incredible. The pubs in the East End put on a really good show, and the music kept me going. Got a bit fed up of “Keep on running” after a while though! We saw the Walk the Walk cheering committee at around mile 15 and this is when I suddenly realised that I was still running! I was enjoying the whole event so much that I hadn’t looked at my expensive GPS watch that had been set to my power walking pace, I hadn’t dipped into my bum bag to retrieve my gels, protein packs and bloks and I realised that I was part of the most amazing experience ever.

The sun was shining and London was at its best.
I loved all 26 miles, didn’t hit the wall, didn’t feel tired, had so much energy left at the end, I could’ve run another mile, if I had to though my legs might’ve objected somewhat!
I’ll never forget the last couple of miles, running along the Embankment and through Parliament Square in the late afternoon sunshine, hundreds of people shouting my name and cheering me on.

But I think it was only when I saw the sign on Birdcage Walk saying ‘385 yards to go’ that it sunk in that I really had run the London marathon and the emotion of the day really got to me.

My medal has been everywhere with me, I’m so proud of it, and I know that whatever happens in the rest of my life I will always be able to call myself a marathon runner
Anyway, massive thanks again to all at WALK THE WALK for giving me the chance to fulfil a dream

Bev

Both Walkers and Runners are welcome to apply for one of our limited charity places!

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