I’ve been sitting down trying to figure out how to write this, how do I fit the emotions in to a blog post, how can I possibly do it justice. It seems above and beyond my capabilities at the moment. Sunday 17th April seems too big to put into words even two days on.
Let’s start with the fact that I am a marathoner. I have run 26.2 (or 26.4 according to my gps) miles, I have a medal, a finishers T, and an appetite that won’t quit! I did it!
Running your first marathon is a crazy experience, one I will never forget! Everyone is running towards something or away from something, we all have our reasons and they are always so much bigger than ourselves.
I started off as a bag of nerves. My sister and husband joined me on the train journey over and got me safely to the start before taking up their place in the crowd. They kept things light and me laughing, but everything was shaking and then I was on my own (+ 10,000 others).
I couldn’t believe I was there, I knew obviously that I was about to start running but it was utterly unreal to me that by the end of the day I would be a marathoner. I knew I would do it but I still had no idea how!
I met a fellow Mind charity runner at the start who was aiming for a similar time and pace, so we set out together. We shared stories of our lives as we plodded through to the start pen (waving at Zoe Ball), and on to those early mile markers. My husband and sister were well located to see us about 3 times in those early miles. It gave me a boost and we soon settled in to that lovely melodic rhythm of pounding pavement.
I was feeling strong as we ran up over the cliffs with that stunning ocean view. We met fellow runners, cheered out to our fellow charity members, and I honestly felt on top of the world! By the time I saw my people again at half way I felt great! We’d run the first half in about 2hours 15 which was fine for our desired sub 4:30:00 finish! We both felt strong to attempt those negative splits on the way back.
By mile 16 something had gone terribly wrong. I felt like the outside of my left leg was on fire. I saw my my next group of supporters (Wendy, Jason, Rob and Laura) and did not want to let on to them or anyone, including my self, what I was feeling. Seeing them a few times over the next few miles spurred me on. Charlotte then just turned into super woman as she saw me slowing and struggling, she really was working her socks off to tell me I not only could but that I would do it, at this point I had no faith that this was true!
I saw my mum, dad, aunt and uncle at mile 20 and had a good little cry before heading out to the dreaded power station. I told Charlotte to go off as I wouldn’t be going any faster, my hip and knee were seizing up. She stuck by me and said we’d started together and we would finish together, and I couldn’t have been more thankful for any one person!
The power station section of the route is particularly painful, it is deathly quiet and the lovely scenery is long gone, plus it’s a solid 3 miles to get you back to the seafront. I dug deep, seeing my beautiful friends Martine and Andy, and then the surprise of seeing my running club coach Shelley, I cried and I hurt and I wanted to stop. But Charlotte kept going and so I kept going and we got to Mile 22!
The next 4 miles were the hardest 4 miles I’ve ever run in my entire life. My left leg had all but given up, an IT band flare up pulling on my hip and knee just made every step more painful than the one before. And the one person who could get me to that line, Charlotte, then had a knee injury that decided to kick in! We both slowed. Our heads dropped and our hearts sunk as we pushed on for what can only be the longest miles known to man.
We pushed back on to the seafront and everyone was shouting our names. “Come on girls you’re so close”! We broke down, physically, mentally, emotionally!
I realised it was now my turn to be super woman… I looked at Charlotte and said “you see that point there when we get to that point we’re going to really run, we’re going to push really hard, push through this pain and cross that line strong!”
We grabbed hands, held on tight and found the strength from somewhere to run as fast as we possibly could. The crowd screamed and roared as tears ran down my face and the finish line came in to view! We crossed the line as champions! We were marathoners!
Not quite the sub 4:30 either of us had hoped for, but on the day we’d given it everything we had, and then some.
Sometimes the race isn’t perfect, because life isn’t perfect… But if you keep on going, keep on pushing through it leads you not to where you thought you would be, but to somewhere incredible nonetheless!
Brighton marathon 2016, you were a beautiful day shrouded in so so much anticipation and intrigue. You were executed brilliantly, your support was incredible and I cannot fault you in any way shape or form.
This journey has been so much more than just completing my first marathon. It has been a tale of my own strength and weaknesses; laid out there on the road for all to see. A road to recovery that I didn’t even know that I needed, but one that I feel is only just beginning.
I am proud of who I am and what I am doing right now.
And I will be back.
Congrats on becoming a marathoner!! That’s an amazing accomplishment! My first marathon went pretty similarly, and I’d also wanted 4:30 and finished in the low 4:40s. But no matter the time, it still feels amazing to cross that finish line. Well done!
Thanks so much! It really does feel amazing and loving that no matter what I’ll always be a marathoner 😀! Have you done any others since?
Great blog.. Well done on the marathon. It was my first one on Sunday also. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever don’t but was so happy with 4.35…
Good luck If you do anymore
Ps your right that power station stretch was brutal
4:35 is awesome! Well done Gari. Do you have plans for any more races?
Well done Clare, great achievement and brilliant blog. I’m so happy for you and really inspired for Sunday now…albeit still very nervous. Enjoy celebrating and relaxing for a while. 🍾👍
Thanks so much Victoria, you will do brilliantly on Sunday! Just soak up all the atmosphere and be proud of all your achievements! It will be a great day!!
Greetings to you
My dear friend
You are one incredible lady Clare, and what a talented writer! I feel blessed to have met you on Sunday and hopefully our running paths will cross again one day (maybe we will have to come back next year and smash that sub 4:30). Thank you for allowing me to run with you. Xxx