The Virgin London Marathon is nearly upon us, and all the hard work, early mornings and sore legs will soon be worth it. Crossing the finish line of your first marathon is an incredible feeling, and the pain and hurt of the previous 26 miles is momentarily forgotten while the glorious medal is placed around your neck.
I trained for six months for my first one, from sofa to start line, as I'd never run at all before that. It was hard, very hard. I could barely do three miles. Then I realised that running isn't always a physical battle, my fight was in my head. Since I broke through that barrier of thinking 'I can't do it' I've been hooked, and there's nothing quite like the sense of achievement when you complete a run. Exercise helps me to feel in control of my body. Control was something I didn't have when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 at 34 years old.
Ten years ago, we had the great fortune to meet a lovely English woman, Tracey Morris, an optician from Leeds, who had a passion for running. A recreational runner, she entered the London Marathon in 2004 for the first time at the age of 36. To everyone's astonishment, not least her own, she finished tenth with a time of 2:33:52.