Sunday, 27 March 2011


Cue: blowing my own trumpet. (I hope that translates in the USofA the same as it means in the UK...)

Despite having done no exercise for years, and then picking up an injury, I did it. 

I ran, walked, and sometimes practically crawled a half-marathon. It took me longer to finish than the winner of the full marathon, but I don't care. Just over two months ago I needed a challenge, found one, took it on, and completed it. During the journey towards and during the challenge, I made the following notes. 

You MUST prepare properly. 
I didn't. 

You MUST be realistic. 
I wasn't. 

You MUST NOT pick up an injury four days before running a half-marathon, and then still run it. 
I did. Both.

You MUST be completely nuts to want to do something like this. 
I am. 

You DAMN WELL WILL finish it, even if it nearly kills you. 
It did, and I did. 

The person who designed the course clearly had a sadistic side to them leaving a monstrous hill to climb for the last couple of miles. This was, however, then followed by an equally steep, but somewhat shorter downhill where my legs felt as though they belonged to somebody else. My injury screamed most of the way round the spectacular course, and my lungs kept threatening to give up and go home. I repeatedly thought back to the start, where another runner took a photo of me. He was running the same race, but on one prosthetic leg. My "bravery" suddenly paled into insignificance and drove me forwards. 

As I ran past each strategically stationed ambulance and first-aid post on the route, I became ever more determined to ignore their inviting offer of rescue. All along the route families, people I have never met and will never meet again, shouted, sang and cheered their support. Even for the stragglers like me (and, surprisingly several hundred behind!). 

I know, I know. It was only a half-marathon. All of twenty-one kilometres, or thirteen miles if you prefer. Twenty minutes in a car, I mean, how far can it really be? Some people have to travel further just to get basic groceries! But to me, it was a lot more than that. It was inescapable proof. 

Proof that I can achieve things that I once thought impossible. 

Proof that I can now take on challenges that up until now I would never have even considered. 

Proof - definite, undeniable proof - that many things that I had believed about myself until now can be well and truly defenestrated. (Thanks AC et al)

Who knows where this realisation will take me now?

Over at RRD's blog, he's planning on a 10k run along with some other BASICS colleagues to raise funds for their vital organisation. I may go and cheer from the sidelines. In fact, in hindsight, 10k is where I should have started too, but it's a little late now. 

Whilst he's doing that, I think the most improbable thought. A thought so frightening that I'm not sure what to do about it. What do I think? 

I think I want to do it all again. Except that next time, I'll be ready.

Told you I was nuts. 


burnedoutmedic said...


SaintPara said...

So, when you putting in for the London Marathon? =)

Congratulations tho!!

joan said...

Really proud of u! whens next one!!!
When i was 50 i went for a challenge, i learned to bodyboard in Cornwall! and took swimming lessons! Loved both of them, and still carrying on with my swim lessons, to improve, and bodyboarding again this yr!
all the best

RapidResponseDoc said...

Well done!! Really proud of the achievement!

Quinnfeld said...


What kind of an injury were you running on? In the past two weeks, I've run two 10K runs on a less-than-perfect leg...It makes for an interesting experience!

My next goal is a Half-Marathon (or thereabouts) - hopefully with everything working this time.

Once again, congratulations!

josh said...

Maybe you should run the 10k with them!

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Well done and with flair !~! Proud of you. Stay the course, huh. Seems to be working for you,what a great day to celebrate....

Anonymous said...

wow well done, I hope you had a bowl of warm water waiting for your feet when you got home!!
(my mum did for me when I did a 20 mile walk many moons ago)
great respect to you I only ever run a bath these days.

TAZ THE AMBO said...

You finished, great.
What about the guy with the leg?
How did he finish?
Cycling was my challenge at 45 and I now own a car that I rarely use.

Anonymous said...

dude absolutely awesome just one thing though you did this out of choice, you truly are nuts. I remember as a child my father taking me on "FUN RUNS" this little comment never made sense to me fun and run are the same as military and intelligence, they should never go together

all in all though congrats