The coverage of the marathon features very heavily around how wonderful the crowds are. I can testify to this from my many years of standing in them supporting, and from the numerous friends who have completed it. I experienced the sheer volume and the ridiculous number of people calling my name when they saw it on my top with shouts of ‘you’ve got this!’. But as I ran and heard all these people willing me to do well, I was another runner soon to be forgotten by those spectators as they looked for the next. Then there are the charities. Although I was running for 4 awesome charities that we have personally benefited from, I had to choose one whose vest I would wear. I chose Children with Cancer UK. When I approached one of their cheering points the volume increased as they supported their runners, willing you to do well but also full of pride for what you’ve already achieved in supporting their cause. Then there are your family and friends. The ones who know you. They know your expectations. They know you. They want you to succeed and are cheering you on because they love you.
After the race
After getting my bag I just had to lay down. I felt awful and knew I wouldn’t manage the walk to meet my family just yet. I could’ve stayed there for hours just in time and space on my own, had a first aid lady not come to check on me and get me up to move me along. Getting to the family was wonderful. They knew I would be disappointed but were proud and delighted anyway as I knew they would be. We then went to the Children with Cancer UK reception and I have to say, that was my highlight. Being the largest charity with about 1500 runners, they know how to look after their supporters. Every runner welcomed on a red carpet and with their photograph taken. There was a huge room full of what must’ve been 100 beds with trained volunteers giving massages and every time a runner entered they applauded. Isaac is coping remarkably well with treatment and we tend to get on with life relatively normally, but it’s long tiring days like this that remind us that he is in treatment and on a cocktail of drugs that have a massive impact on him. He came with me when I went for my massage and as soon as they knew he was in treatment he was treated like royalty and had his own massage. Over the course of treatment Isaac has struggled with leg pain and even had a time when he spent several months sleeping in leg splints to adjust the drop foot caused by one of the drugs. Not only did we have this luxury of the welcome of royalty, but there was delicious food so we were able to all have a proper meal before contemplating the journey home. I may not have found the marathon experience something that I wanted to talk about, but Children with Cancer UK and their treatment of us is something I cannot stop talking about. And it is for the work they, and the other charities we support, do that I am so very grateful for all those who have sponsored and supported me financially in the challenge. My disappointment in the race certainly does not spill over into the charity contribution you have made. For that I cannot find words to express my gratitude. Those charities and the research they have done have provided a cure for Isaac’s condition and allows a pressing on to find further cures and improve care. As I say, thank you does not seem enough. I know there is always a continued debate as to the number of elites and fast paced club runners compared to the vast numbers completing it as a one off charity fundraiser. I am an avid athletics fan. I love watching high quality sport. We regularly attend athletics meets throughout the year and have been fortunate to attend events at the London 2012 Olympics, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and the World Athletics Championships in London 2017. I want to see fast times and more runners achieving the very best they can and with 2 sons who dream of being future Olympians I want those role models coming through. But I am very aware that Children with Cancer UK as a charity alone will have received millions of pounds as a result of their charity runners on Sunday. Not only do I pray for those in the sporting world to strive for excellence, creativity and innovation, but for those in medicine, those fighting for injustice, those fighting for those without a voice, and indeed in all areas of life to bring even more creativity and innovation to help heal the broken hearted, bring freedom for captives, to bring comfort to those who mourn. I want to see the money raised to fund this kind of research and support also causing children to dream of how they too can transform the world and the lives of those around them in whatever sphere of life they are called into.