I turned up to the gym today for my first official day of training for the London Marathon, on the TV was The Great Edinburgh XCountry. The event by Arthurs Seat features U.S.A., Europe and GB competition in a number of XCountry distances with streams and hills. This swiftly took me back to my school day and Cross Country.
We all remember our relationship with Cross Country, it was the same as Physics Lessons, we never wanted to do it. What made Physics more enjoyable than Cross Country was at least the lesson was done in the comfort and warmth of a lab. Meanwhile Cross Country was always a cold damp Wednesday afternoon. It was horrible, everyone hated it and it was a waste of time – well at least that was my opinion. My highlight of Cross Country came in Year 8, where I lead for the first 50m when I sprinted away from the pack and started celebrating – I think I ended up finishing 50th out of 60. My association with Cross Country reached a pinnacle when in Year 9 I managed to miss every single Cross Country run as I got my dad to write a Dr’s note saying that I suffered from Plantar Fasciitis.
This was a very tactical injury – I spent my entire life playing football, I needed to find an injury that allowed me to still play football – but meant that I could skip Cross Country. Plantar Fasciitis was perfect, essentially it is a repetitive strain injury which inflamed when running for a prolonged period of time. Perfect.
After this, I never did Cross Country again.
Fast forward a few years, who would have imagined I’d now be planning on running the London Marathon.
Anyone Can Run A Marathon
This statement sounds crazy. Well, it isn’t. Marathons are completed by people from every walk of life, people over 60 frequently run Marathons and anyone can – if they put their mind to it.
People are frequently told while growing up you can do anything – if you put your mind to it. For years I didn’t know what this meant. I grew up naively singing and dancing my way through life. In the recent years, I’ve come to discover that it means you have to really
A) Want to achieve your goal
B) Invest time into completing it
C) Don’t give up.
The most important one is C).
BBC One recently did a documentary called Mind Over Marathon (Link Here) where they took 10 people with different mental illness and trained them for the London Marathon last year. I am fortunate to have met Chevy Rough who trained the volunteers for the run. We’ve had a number of conversation in which we both agreed The London Marathon is a mental challenge rather than a physical challenge. Crazy I know.
26.2 miles, 4 hours of exercise – surely this is all to do with your body?
However, long before the body gives up the mind gives in. How many times have you been on the treadmill, planning on running for 20 minutes – but you decide to end it at 10 because – you know what – you deserve it?
Or had the feeling of not wanting to get out of bed and cuddling back into the duvet rather than starting the day?
That feeling, we all have, is amplified after 3 hours of running how easy would it feel just to stop and walk?
When people around you are stopping, when the aches in your body are executing – there’s only one thing that gets you through that feeling – mental strength.
Below is the London Marathon finish line – on the Mall – one of London’s most iconic tourist spots. On 23rd of April I’m hoping to cross this line in one piece.
Over the next 3 months, I have an intense training schedule and a number of events before, including:
19th February: Lisbon Half Marathon
23rd March: Milan Half Marathon
There are going to be days when I wake up and I’d rather stay in bed than run again. I’m going to have injuries and knocks I need to recover for. It’s not going to be easy – but nothing worth doing is easy.
I’m aiming to raise £12,000 for CALM- any sponsorship money would be greatly appreciated.
CALM – is dedicated to preventing male suicides, sucidie is the number one cause of death of men under 45.
Wish me luck x
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