My most frequent emotions are sadness, anger and frustration, but today I felt more happy, proud and inspired than I have felt for a long long time. This is possibly the best I have felt since before my accident. Also, I absolutely never get teary over happy things, and I have never really understood why people cry when they are happy, but right now I am sitting here with a few tears rolling down my face as I think about today’s London Marathon, and in particular two of my INCREDIBLE friends that were running in it.
Running a marathon is not easy! I ran a half marathon while I was at uni and when I got to the end I couldn’t possibly imagine having to do the whole thing again. But a full marathon was something that I always wanted to achieve in life, so two years in a row I applied for the London Marathon through the ballot, but unfortunately didn’t get in. So when my friends Fiona and Clemmie told me that they had a place for this year’s marathon and that they wanted to run for spinal charities I was so proud (and slightly jealous!)
Neither of them are runners, but both are incredibly determined. So they have been training hard over the last six months, putting up with the freezing cold winter and preparing themselves for race day!
Fiona walked a marathon last year to raise money for Aspire (a spinal charity), so she always knew that she was capable of completing the race today. She always knew she would finish, but just didn’t know how long it would take!! Here she is at Mile 8, where I was cheering from. She stopped for a quick road side chat with me and my dad!!
Clemmie is one of my friends that I never would have thought of as a marathon runner. I don’t even think she could quite believe that she was taking part. When I spoke to her yesterday and she said she was nervous, I told her that it didn’t matter if she didn’t finish. And she said to me, in possibly the most determined voice I have ever heard, ‘Oh I am GOING to finish!!’ She has said all along that I am her inspiration for the marathon and that she’s doing this for me; I don’t think you can get much more of an amazing friend than that!
Both of them finished in fantastic times, and they have each raised over £1000 for different spinal charities. They got their very well deserved medals…
The whole atmosphere today was just insane; so much support and cheering. I was in one of the quieter areas, so I can only imagine how crazy it must have been in the central areas. Days like today just bring out the best in people and everyone is so positive and encouraging. It really reminded me of the Olympics and made me feel so proud to be British!
A special mention should also go to Team RST running for the Rooprai Spinal Trust and Spinal Research. This team included Andy Uttridge who is the fiancé of Marrianne, possibly THE most inspiring SCI person that I know, and Andy Galbraith my physio from Prime Physio. I managed to catch a glimpse of Andy Galbraith as he zoomed past (he looked like he was in the zone, so apologies if my shouting and waving distracted you Andy!) and he finished in an amazing 3hrs46mins. He is quite the pro at these sorts of things, and in just less than a month will be completing an Ironman in Lanzarote…in this he will have to complete a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike run and then run a marathon (42.2km) W-O-W!!
All of the runners today have left me feeling uplifted and inspired…but Clemmie and Fiona have really given me a reason to stay motivated. They have achieved something so incredible and the fact that they took part as a result of my accident just shows how lucky I am to have them in my life. I will have to stop writing before I get all emotional again, but CONGRATULATIONS to all of the runners who have raised so much money for so many different charities.