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.
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.
whatever their ability everyone raised the bar and challenged themselves. Endured a little something, pushed a little further than they usually would, all for a great cause. Some may also have exorcised the exercise demons (sorry) and may feel inspired to take a new path, taking control of their health and well being.
Even though I work for a charity, I am rubbish at asking for money. Sometimes I feel more apprehensive about the fundraising than the actual training. Like most Brits, I have a deeply ingrained irrational fear of 'bothering' anyone. Yes it is a challenge and yes it can be hard work but I have to keep reminding myself that it's so worth it in the end.
I cannot emphasise enough just how far removed I am from those annoying people who are seemingly born with a 6-pack and effortlessly cruise through runs without breaking a sweat. It's all about hard graft for me. Like many 'growing lads', I was a victim of chronic puppy fat/grow baggage at school and running was the last thing I wanted to do.