Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The London Marathon 2015 – the highs and lows of a long distance runner

Today's post is by Nick Rose who will be taking on the London Marathon on the 26th April 2015 to raise money for Yes to Life and help us continue to support people in the UK to take an integrative approach to cancer. Good luck Nick! If you would like to sponsor our marvellous Marathon man please click here.

This will be my 7th London Marathon! 26.2 miles pounding around the streets of London with 30,000 other runners, cheering crowds, blisters, copious amounts of Vaseline, and being overtaken by runners dressed as rhinos, Elvis, fairies and the occasional superhero! There is certainly something very special about the London Marathon.

There is the crowd mentality of the runners at the start line with shots of “Ogi Ogi Ogi” belting out across Greenwich Park. Your nerves are buzzing and there is a certain amount of trepidation (some even say fear!) at what is to come. Then at 9.15 – you start!

The Marathon is a hugely inspirational event and yes, whilst the training is hard, and sticking to the diet even harder especially for someone with a sweet tooth like me, the feeling you get at the end of the event is one of real achievement.

For me, I am honoured to be raising funds for Yes to Life, a charity that myself and my wife have known and supported for many years. I know that when I reach those difficult times on the marathon, thinking of this amazing charity and the people they help will drive me onwards.

As for the training? Well so far its going ok. A few niggles on the knees and feet, and back oh and my legs hurt in general as do my feet, which is to be expected I suppose for someone aged 44 and weighing 17 stone! But I am now confident of running 14 miles possibly even breaking 15 over the next few weeks, which is bang on schedule.

As you can image, running 26 miles is not an easy thing to do and training your body and mind to be ready for this challenge takes time and real commitment. But what I've found is that marathon running is quite a solitary experience. Yes, you have the crowds cheering you on, your fellows runners giving you encouragement and the wonderful volunteers who clap and cheer as your stumble past on very tired legs. (I once heard a runner say that he was so tired even his teeth had begun to hurt!)

But ultimately, once you get into the belly of the beast that is a marathon, you are all alone and it is what is INSIDE your head that will help get you through the last few miles of the race. Your mind is an incredibly powerful tool. I have been at mile 19, exhausted, sore, crying and with no energy. But then, that pesky voice in your head shouts that almost military command to “KEEP GOING!” And you do. Its amazing.

You get to mile 20, then 21. Onto to the Embankment. You can see Big Ben, the landmark for the finish and the adrenalin kicks in! Crowds are massing, cheering is reaching a crescendo and then you are on Bird Cage Walk – the home stretch! You go past the Palace and see that most wonderful of sights – the Finish Line!

It's been said that there are two halves to every marathon: The first 20 miles, and the last 6. There are many things that keep you going – the charity, your family, the power of the mind, the crowd and bananas!

But one thought that helps me stems from a quote by the author John Bingham, an advocate of the slow runner! He once said…

“The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

If you would like to sponsor our marvellous Marathon man please click here.

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