Raising Money for Teenage Cancer Trust and other worthy causes


Day 30 - Marathon 30 - 21st April 2013

25-April-2013 7:16
in General
by Admin


Day 30, last day The Virgin London Marathon 2013


I did not expect to sleep much last night but with dad not there to wake me with his various sleeping noises, I thought I would get a solid sleep. No, four in our room and although a large room, a blocked nose and forced breathing noises travels! Two hours sleep and up at 4:15! A navigated hobble across the room to the bathroom, almost fell asleep on the loo! Showered, very hot then cold then hot and felt much more awake. Lights on, woke everyone up, packed rucksack, couldn't eat but too early anyway. Sweats on, quick goodbye to a not too interested and very sleepy family and down to Jan and the waiting taxi. Enjoyable ride through the empty streets of London as the sun was rising, quite magical. Arrived just before 6am at a very picturesque Greenwich Park, dew covered grass glistening in the rising sun, looked great. Got out of the cab lighter by £50 and found out the dew was actually a thick frost and it was bloody freezing! Found the Radio5Live wagon and was informed our interview was at the start of the Red Start, half a mile away! Eventually found and interview complete, all good and back to the Media Area to get some food and warm up in the catering bus. Got back, now frozen to my core and the bus was shut and the caterers were washing down the mobile kitchen! Could not, not eat this morning! After a bit of pleading I managed to get some hot milk and a half bowl of muesli, still better than nothing but not ideal for fuel for the 30th marathon in 30 days! Back in the cold waiting around for the next interview again not ideal preparation but we need the exposure for Teenage Cancer Trust. Unfortunately this took too long, all the stations wanted me on after 9am, far too late to get me to the Red start and prepared for the start. Now shaking with the cold and feeling sick, I gave my number to them and left to warm myself up and get ready. Jan, also now very cold, left to get to the station and meet up with the gang somewhere on the course. I felt proper bad and had to get to a loo as quick as I could. Thankfully made it just in time. I huffed and puffed but managed to keep my breakfast, what there was of it, down! Feeling a bit better and now a bit warmer in the sunshine I met up with Mark Jewel. We got ready with the weather now much warmer and feeling much better. A few Oat and Honey Nature Valley bars consumed washed down with water and high five Zero, changed into kit, applied all jollop, topped off with plenty of Voltarole and we were both good to go. Just about to put my bag in the bag drop lorry and my phone went. Radio stations now wanted me back in the media centre for live interviews! Had to say no, sorry Teenage Cancer Trust, I could not get there and back to my pen in the red start in time! Now time to concentrate on the run. My right achilles is my biggest concern but hopefully as the course is flat I can manage the problem. My aim is to run at a constant pace hopefully below 4"15/k which is 3hr pace. I know I have struggled since Thursday but I still want to aim for sub 3 and if I crash and burn, so what, I have thousands of runners to get me round not forgetting the odd supporter! Man hug with Mark and we went our separate ways to our respective pens, I was in 2 Mark in 5. I have been a bit down having not taken up my fast for age place gained by last years marathon, to run with the Teenage Cancer Trust team and not getting the Green start as expected! The problem with the Red start is I am miles away from the media and as a result missed opportunities to get exposure and as I am also with the gorillas and camels which makes it harder to get a good time! Still it is the event that is the important thing not my personal ambition! If I say that enough I might start to believe it! My position was actually not too bad, only a minute or two from the start line. Now in the pen and chatting with everyone, all nervous and wanting to talk to take our minds off the task ahead. Start time now approaching the pa system started up to control the masses and get everyone focused. He started talking about Boston! Everyone stopped talking and listened to our instructions regarding the required silence. Everyone's conversation changed from personal concerns about have we done enough and what times we were going for, to Boston and a defiant attitude surfaced. Then the 30 second silence. You could have heard a pin drop, very eerie, then the whistle went and a roar erupted and mass clapping broke out. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and emotion washed over me! Everyone was the same. An immense feeling that I do not think I have ever experienced before. I am sure everyone focused on why they were there and not what they wanted out of the day. I thought instantly of Phil and the day he was told his time was up, I thought of his wife his Karen, children Holly and Evie, his brother Daryl and his family and his mum Jill. Emotion of a different kind now washed over me and I thought about my family. I have had a journey over the last 30 days with the running being only part of it. I am privileged to have had a chance to meet some very inspirational people. The teenagers and young adults being cared for and their families. All immensely grateful to Teenage Cancer Trust for helping them through the worst imaginable time. The nurses and doctors who have dedicated their lives not just to medically care for their patients but to be there for them and think about their time not just their illness. The Teenage Cancer Trust people, who all have the same core values and aims but have the freedom of imagination to do it their way. Thank you, you have all changed my life and I hope what ever I have done can help you in some small way, I believe every little bit helps.


My concern now was being carried away with the moment! The start approached, we all shook hands with each other, people I had only met over the last hour. Not that I am experienced in marathon races but this has never happened before. The ribbons separating the pens came down and we all walked forward. We were off, only at a walk but the 2013 Virgin London Marathon had started! It took a minute or two to get to the start line and we started running. Not the best first couple of kilometres, I had to bob and weave between runners. I encountered the odd Camel, Gorilla and Mankini then settled into my run. My advantage over the others is that I know I can run the distance and know what to do when tough times come along, my disadvantage is that my legs have run over 760 miles in the last 29 days!


The weather was perfect, the crowds were amazing and my fellow runners were great. Loads of people running had been following my progress and wished me well, a few said they had run with me last year! I got through the first 5k all below my target time without too much effort. The advantage of my continuous running is my fitness level, I was not out of breath and generally stayed in control. The support of the crowd was amazing, I would not have thought it possible to get more support than last year but it seemed that the crowd was greater in number by a long way. I became focused and relaxed, the noise of the crowd started to blur into a constant noise. Unfortunately for a lot of other runners I think the emotion got to them and they went off far too quick! I heard a huge shout of "Loddy" and I spotted my old mucker Tony Garment with his daughter Hattie, which was nice. I was only focusing on my Garmin watch and each kilometre that passed, 10k came along quickly and I did not look at the time of the 10k just the kilometre time, still ok. I found a great rhythm and decided that however I felt, I was going to keep below my target, I blocked out the negative thoughts of fatigue and injury due to the last 29 days and focused on my strength on mind knowing I have done this day in and day out and only thinking about the next step and the next kilometre. If I focus on that, the end will come and the race will take care of itself. I got too emotional at Brighton and at times struggled to breath, so I kept telling myself to relax, keep calm and use the emotion in the correct way. All good, I got to half way feeling ok and did look briefly at my time, 1'28" well on target for a sub 3 even if I slow at the end. The second half started well and at 25k I realised I had not had a drink! School boy error, so small amount taken on with a Maxi Gel. Stomach instantly objected, cramped up then released, a touch of built up wind escaped and all good again! I had a great shout from the Andy Newing and the Gade Valley mob, also from my old mate Paul Hobbs and Paul Rumble who told me to not look at them, dig in and push to the finish! I could hardly hear individual shouts but I heard a voice looked out of the mass crowd and spotted Guys wife calling my name, thanks for your support. The biggest shout came from Matt Watt and John Lawler my knew friends from Gade Valley Harriers that unfortunately had to pull out through injury. I thought I looked up and acknowledged them well, they said I lifted one hand and did not break stride or focus! All good but feeling it now, I kept focusing on each kilometre and not the end, but it was starting to hurt. I got the odd pain and ping in my hamstrings a calves but blocked them out. My vision became tunnelled and with 3k to go I said to myself that this was the last 3k of my challenge and as the pain rose, possibly would be the last of my running life! I stepped up the pace a bit, tried to relax and pushed for home. I spotted my family and friends at the 600m from finish point, acknowledged them briefly then went into mad sprint mode! Head up, ignore the pain, knees up and sprinted for the line. I felt great as I crossed the line, emotion then washed over me and I struggled to breath. I thanked everyone in my mind felt immense relief and gathered my composure. I then looked at my time and could not believe my watch, 2'55"18! I was stunned and unbelievably pleased, I wanted to do a PB at London but did not believe it possible after the last few days! I got a shout and turned to see Guy from Gade Valley then spotted Tom North also from the club! Chuffed, I could not have planned it better, to finish with Guy who I have got to know very well and who was the first person I met at the club last September and Tom who is part of our group just topped off a great and magical day, in fact a magical month for me. Medal picked up, me and Guy walked together to pick up our bags. Guy hung back and spoke to the announcers that were greeting people as they walked towards Horse Guards Parade as I walked on. I was called back and announced to the crowd that I had just finished 30 in 30 and my time! I had a quick chat  and got an embarrassing ovation from all the runners, thanks Guy! It actually meant a lot to me and very much appreciated.


I wanted to do this challenge to raise money and awareness of the Teenage Cancer Trust but also I wanted to push myself as much as possible to give credit to all the runners that work so hard all year for days like today. We met Vince, Tom at the G meeting point, along with Jamie Marlow who I also met on my first run with Gade Valley and who has encouraged me from day one, thank you Jamie. Horse Guards seemed a lot emptier than last year and I was in a sort of trance! I rang Karen, found out where my mob were and walked over to them. Great reception that I seemed to be viewing from a far! My dad and mum gave me a hug and I slowly came back to the present and greeted everyone. Karen has put up with a lot over the last few years but has had the support of many friends none less than Sheryl. Thank you for being their for Karen and supporting me along with your fantastic family and friends. Regan and Jemima are special friends, Bianca and India are an absolute nightmare together but in a good way. Also Sheryl's relations Debs and Rich Chamberlain who have become our friends have been immense. My sister Louise has always been there for me and it was great to have her there with Jamie my nephew along with the unstoppable Jan, Simon and their boys Ed and James, also Ross Jemima's boy friend who has been great and joined in at every opportunity. Ross and Regan ran a lot with me over this and the last adventure and both are natural athletes. Last and certainly not least Tony and Hattie Garment. Tony has helped me focus on the task and not the huge challenge. Whenever I started to talk about my personal pity, Tony was there to keep me focused on my strengths not my weaknesses, so thank you. All good final video taken along with a lot of photos and we were good to go. The BBC turned up then and were interviewing various runners. I did a quick interview hopefully getting more exposure for our cause and Teenage Cancer Trust and then we left a now much busier Horse Guards Parade. I arranged to meet the Gade Valley mob in the Doric pub by 3 ish and we set off for the Old Star and the post run reception by Teenage Cancer Trust. Great reception, very busy, met Mark Jewel, got a bit emotional! Well done mark 3'35" first marathon and a lot of money raised. My stay was a lot longer than planned, meeting all the Teenage Cancer Trust runners, families and supporters. Matt from Florida and his family deserve a mention. All that way just to run for Teenage Cancer Trust. Well done to everyone. Now too late, I thought to meet the boys at the Doric but I got a text from Vince saying they were all there waiting for me! Apologies made to my family and friends but they understood that I wanted to have a pint with the boys. Karen and me jumped on the tube and in minutes were in the pub. I walked up the stairs and got a standing ovation from the top tier of the pub, embarrassing but great. Spent far to long with them all, but so pleased to have made it to today and of course to the pub! Everyone now very merry but their appreciation of the effort required to complete 30 in 30 meant the world to me. All gradually left, Karen and me eventually picked up by dad after a great few hours. I would like to thank all at Gade valley, I can't mention them all but Andy Newing has supported me fantastically along with organising the club, all the people I met since September but especially the people I met on my first day at the club. Guy, Vince, Matt, John, Jamie Marlow, Tom and Ed Prince who I now consider as good friends. Quick ride back to Kings Langley and in the Saracens Head, my local for my pint of pride that means the most to me! Thanks to Alan and June for the bottle of bubbly and an enjoyable hour spent with Jan, Simon, Jason and my family. All good, now pooped and slightly the worst for wear we got home and I promptly fell asleep fully clothed without a shower on my bed! I woke at 4am got changed and tried to sleep without too much success. Up at 6am over for a shower felt a bit better. Strange feeling of relief and part guilt that I was not running a marathon today. Justin Dealy from Heart Radio turned up at 6:30 and we did a quick interview, all good. Cup of tea and I started to nod off, phone went and did quick interview with Paul Ross, again all good exposure for Teenage Cancer Trust. Strange day, into work for a bit just to catch up, back home for a quick interview with Heart Radio MK and then I fell asleep for a couple of hours.


Well its all over now, another adventure with my dad over. I have done my best to raise awareness and much needed funds for Teenage Cancer Trust with this challenge, I would like to think I have proved that with the right motivation you can achieve what is perceived not possible and its never too late to get off the sofa and get yourself fit. I intend to do lots more with the Framework Foundation and fulfil my promise to Phil by supporting Teenage Cancer Trust and the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted but I think I have done enough multi marathons now! Thanks to everyone who has been so kind to take an interest and thanks to everyone who has donated either by text, donation to Framework Foundation or direct to teenage Cancer Trust. Please keep pushing it to others, It all counts and it all makes a difference.


Thanks to Nick at Essential Hotels.


Thanks to The Price Group for sponsoring day 30, once again Charlie very appreciated.


Thanks also to all 30 shirt sponsors, your donations make the world of difference.


 Well, that is that, I have kept on keeping on and now its time for a rest. Goodnight.

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