I was pulled out of a teeny, tiny ballot of just 1000 names for the Virgin London Marathon this year. And here I am the day after, truly thankful that someone pulled me out of a hat and plonked me into the greatest race on earth. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not remotely sprightly at this moment in time! I think my big toe nails are about to drop off and I’ve had to make an emergency call to my husband to do the school run!! But I will say this – I’ve experienced something so extreme and life-affirming, I barely know where to begin. My brother and I wanted to raise funds for his son’s charity, PWSAUK, and 26.2 miles of toil and tears seemed a perfectly unreasonable suggestion. He’s no Mo and I’m no Paula, but we trained hard because we knew the gain would truly benefit Prader Willi – a significant and life-changing support to my brother’s family.
From the generosity of my family and friends the night before to the dawn of Marathon day, my jaw dropped from start to finish (pretty much every part of my body dropped to be fair). I couldn’t believe the coming together of the capital. The streets were lined, four deep, with people screaming your name mile after mile after mile. There were drummers, steel bands, orchestras and the most heart-warming offering of sweets, carbs, home-made cakes! It was overwhelming. Every element of this journey has been overwhelming. I saw a tree running and a man with a washing machine on his back… I met thousands of smiley volunteers. We’re afraid of big cities these days. Such terrible things are happening everywhere and to think 40,000 strangers came together to run for charity, while thousands more lined up to support them – it’s breathtaking. The only emotions I saw yesterday were the emotions that make us as human beings – extraordinary! Grit, determination, love, sadness, elation and pride. There wasn’t an inch of apathy or hate (hmmm I was actually very apathetic about having to climb steps).
When I saw my kids, my husband and family, my friends, these amazing strangers and my nephew’s charity at mile 20 I cried my heart out because in that moment life felt very real. Yes, I was at breaking point, I couldn’t feel most parts of my body and knew I had 6.2 more miles to go, but it affirmed thousands of things in my head in that one moment. Life is here; it’s happening and we have to embrace it, record it, remember it and learn from it. We made an enormous memory that day and we made an enormous amount of money for the charity; thanks to the kind-hearted nature of so, so many people and that includes the coming together of thousands of people I don’t know but want to thank. So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who helped us and for everything you did. I can’t thank Vaseline enough either!!