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LONDON MARATHON 2008

On April 13th 2008 I joined 35000 other "idiots" to run the London Marathon. All this was on behalf of Asthma UK. This is a very personal charity for me. I've seen/felt the effects of asthma from all angles. I myself have suffered from the condition since I was 18. I have also sat in a hospital with my partner, not knowing if she would survive her latest attack. Thirdly, as a parent I was distraught when told my baby son may have the condition.

  • 1 in 12 people in the UK have asthma, that's around 5 million people
  • 1 in 10 children are sufferers.
  • Someone dies from asthma every 6 hours.
  • 90% of these deaths are preventable.

And this is how I got on....

"This being my first marathon, I really didn't know what to expect. I lined up at the blue start filled with a mixture of excitement, fear, and Lucozade Sport.

The first 12 miles went really well. The atmosphere was great, the crowd were brilliant, and I was having a great time high-fiving all the kids! I was on course for my target time of five hours. Then, as I was coming off Tower Bridge, the knee injury I picked up during Sport Relief - which had ruined my last month of training - came back with a vengeance. I had to stop running. But I did not stop moving forward. I simply re-set my target to six hours.

The next few miles through Docklands seemed to be a slow amble. I popped a couple of painkillers and kept on strolling. Every now and then I tried running, but it was just too painful and I had to return to walking. By mile 17, I realised that if I kept my injured leg as straight as possible, I could sort of run. Not for more than a few minutes, but enough to make me feel like I was running. After all, that was what I'd come to do.

Mile 19, and my other half and kids were waiting to cheer me on. It was just the boost I needed. Although I was still perfecting my run-hobble technique, I wasn't going to let them see me in trouble, so I rushed up to them, received a few quick words of encouragement, then ran off again. My son Billy ran along with me for a couple of hundred metres, giving me an added boost. Then he had to stop because he couldn't keep up (for God’s sake, he's a 13-year-old boy who had done nothing all day, and I'm a 40-year-old asthmatic who had just travelled 19 miles by leg power alone!). Next came the home stretch.

The last six miles were absolutely fantastic. The crowd got louder and louder as we approached the finish, all of them shouting my name it seemed. Ahead of me, I saw Mr Bump and Mr Tickle. "I am not going to be beaten by the bl**dy Mr. Men!" I thought to myself, and I made sure I caught them as quickly as possible. Then I saw Mr. Blobby a few hundred yards ahead of me. I wasn’t going to be beaten by him either: that was how I continued until mile 26. A giant Lucozade bottle, an elderly lady in a red wig, a telephone, a fully- equipped fireman, a Star Wars stormtrooper: all fell in my wake. I have absolutely no idea where I got the energy from, but it seemed like I was whizzing through the crowd. "Go Mike!" a woman called from the crowd. "Bl**dy hell, look at him go!" I was only running at about ten-minute-mile pace, but it must have looked good as I weaved and dodged between the other exhausted runners.

I turned the final corner, and the finishline came into sight. I began to feel the exhaustion. I noticeably slowed as I crossed the line, delighted that I'd finished. I hadn't hit the wall, but if I'd had to go one mile further I know I would have. I had done it - my first marathon - and I'd loved every painful minute of it! Five hours 49 minutes and 38 seconds.

On the way home, at Birchanger, there seemed to be slow walking marathon runners everywhere, medals dangling in full view. A brief smile and a nod was all each of us had to give another to show respect. We had tackled the distance, and we had done it! It was like an unspoken camaradarie.

That night, as soon as got home, I entered the ballot for next year. I now want to see how fast I can go if my knee doesn't let me down.

I'd like to thank all the crowd (especially those with Jelly Babies), all the other runners (for their encouragement and company), my running shoes (which protected me from blisters) ibuprofen (for taking away some of the pain) and everyone who sponsored me."

 

TOTAL RAISED £504.00

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT

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