Seeing Paris the hard way

Well I did it!  Running a marathon is not something I ever thought I would do in my life.  You may know me as super-sporty now, but  that’s not always been the case.  In my school days I really was that child who was useless at PE!  Eight years ago, spurred on by three sports-mad males in the house, I decided to train for the Great North Run as a “one-off”.  I joined a local running club to help with the training and I’ve never looked back.


The hardest part of the marathon was undoubtedly the training.  It started in earnest just before Christmas to give a 16 week run up to the event.  I ran three times a week, with one of these being the “long run” which built up until we were running 14, 16, 18 and then 20 miles in one go.  I was incredibly fortunate to have good friends at Birstall Running club—Jo and Shobha—who were willing to train with me on Monday nights rather than the more obvious Sunday morning option that most runners go for.  It was no fun setting out at 6pm when it was already dark, cold and sometimes wet and windy too.  At the peak of the training we weren’t back till past 9.30pm—just early enough to have something to eat, a quick bath and fall into bed.  But—just like childbirth—all that labour is quickly forgotten once its over.

The race itself was magnificent.  The course takes you through the heart of Paris along the route of the Seine.  Highlights along the way included Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.  Jo and I ran together for the first ten miles and I ended up explaining to her the differences between Methodism and Anglicanism—so I was working even on a Sunday off!  But it all helped the miles go by.  I stuck to my race plan—which was to make sure I didn’t go too fast in the first half and thereafter just to keep going.  The last 6 miles were very tough, but psychologically more than physically.  My body simply wanted to stop and I had to give it a good talking to in order to put one foot in front of the other.

I had hoped I might get round in under 5 hours so was delighted to make it in 4:50:55.  (Just don’t mention times to Neil…. A far stronger and more experienced runner he had a bad race and I actually beat him by 4 mins 59secs).

But more than equal to my marathon effort in running 26.2 miles has been the astounding generosity of people in this Circuit and beyond it who have helped me far exceed my target of raising £1,000 for Action for Children.  The total hasn’t been finally reckoned yet but is more likely to be around £3,000.  I cannot begin to express how touched I have been by everyone’s encouragement and support—both moral and financial.  Many thanks to Pete Molesdale who has acted as my fundraising manager and made this all possible.

Of course, this was my “one and only” marathon, so don’t ask how I managed to accidentally enter the ballot for London next year!

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