STEPS London Marathon 2012
Many thanks to all our magnificent marathon runners who ran the London Marathon for STEPS. Read one runners account of their experience of the full 26 miles!
My Marathon journey - Jim Treherne
I am sat in a hotel…scared.
A little more detail? Well tomorrow I run the Virgin London Marathon, and please don’t underestimate how much I have overestimated the word “run”.
I am not a seasoned runner, in fact up until Dec 27th 2011 I weighed in at 16 stone and 13 lbs. To put that into perspective, London Zoo would have struggled to house me.
So why am I sitting in an overly inflated priced hotel on the eve of arguably one of the most famous 26 miles? Well 3 reasons can be to blame (5 if you include an unwarranted ego and pure stubborn mindedness),
- The marathon and I share our birthdays. (as is such this year)
- I watched Eddie Izzard and thought that looks easy (honestly!)
- The charity – STEPS.
The first is an unfortunate coincidence and if I was born on a different day or even just 33 minutes later, this would reduce my reasons to just two and maybe not enough to find myself petrified in London – if only my mother hadn’t have been so shy I would have been born in February!. The second is arguably the most ridiculous reason ever, hidden in an ultra-thin veil of pure admiration for Eddie Izzard. The third is the most important.
My son Freddie was born with talipes; for those completely unaware of talipes, myself included 4 years ago, talipes is clubfoot. Steven Gerrard is also apparently a sufferer, it is when the foot or feet are out of position at birth. Sometimes this is easily fixed and is just a positional issue and others are not so lucky. Freddie had unilateral talipes (clubfoot on one foot) and has subsequently had physio and treatment since he was 17 hours old. The treatment includes wearing Ponseti boots to bed every night and in Freds case he is now in a full leg cast to help correct the postioning – not great fun for a four year old. My son is amongst many who have had little problems with regards to his talipes, however some children aren’t so lucky. STEPS is a very small charity that help families that have more severe problems with a range of hip disorders or clubfoot matters. Although I have never needed to call upon the people at STEPS, it is easy to recognise the great work they do, and therefore I always choose this cause. (http://www.steps-charity.org.uk/)
During my training up to this point I have chased any running aid available on the market, including marathon socks (£30 a pair), calf socks (these are different??? £30 a pair), sports gels (£2) and indian wind chimes (any help is welcome)! The adage “all the gear and no idea” applies! I have been beaten up by a man I paid to do it, also know as a Personal Instructor. Not suffice with paying a man to work me until I was sick (true story) but I also paid to be put in many strange positions and then click me back, also causing huge amounts of pain, this particular man hides behind the Chiropractor guise!
I am however 2 stone and 12 lbs lighter, 4 inches thinner in the waist and 2 inches have come off my neck. The training has been painful and still the hardest part is still to come. I still feel massively under prepared, apparently common.
I have read the pamphlet several times on how I should go about my final hours before the start line, and keep finding more things to distress me, like if I am running at a slower than 7 hour pace it is likely that a man in a yellow jacket is going to over take me whilst collecting rubbish. 7 hours??? I have done a half marathon in my training and that took 3 hours! I might as well take a bin bag with me and help out!
I am now going to try and sleep, I have set 3 alarm calls on my phone, the hotel receptionist has been instructed to call me at 6.15am, my mother has received a call and will also be ringing me at 6.20 (as to not get an engaged tone), I have also left my mother and sister the hotel number with my room number if for some reason my so far trusty telephone dies over night. It may be reasonable to summarise that the nerves have well and truly taken over!!!
I will continue putting one foot in foot of the other tomorrow, because I am running for a great charity, so if you feel you can also help please donate at www.justgiving.com/jimtreherne.
It will be painful for me, funny for you and helpful for STEPS.
Sitting in the hotel room still scared...
I am scared this pain will never leave, that I will never regain the use of legs and that my feet will constantly send shooting pains through my body every time I decide to move.
12 hours ago I was woken by an array of people, from the under enthused hotel receptionist to the over enthused parent! 6.15am and I am awake but desperately wanting to be asleep. I forgot entirely that it was my birthday, the impending self punishment seemed to be in control of every thought.
At 8.15am I am fully dressed in my running gear, I still look like a frog ready for dissection! I rush to the lobby of the hotel to meet a fellow runner for STEPS who is also taking part in his first marathon. He had forgotten his running socks and sent a late night plea for any spares. I could help in this situation, and if it meant somebody else could feel that pain I was going to then I was happy to be of assistance.
We made our way to the Docklands Light Railway and squeezed on a tube full of very athletic looking people. My stomach was sinking. Despite a certain element of pride in my recent weight loss I still felt the fattest person on the train, and wearing tight running trousers and a skin tight running top was not helping.
There was an anxious 20 minute walk to the starting area in Greenwich Park, conversation flitted around our inabilities and our general hope in at least finishing. As we were both blokes we made sure we threw into the story tales of how many injuries we had had in training and that Haile Gebrselassie himself would be struggling to complete this considering what we had been through.
There is a gate system, gates 1 -9 that allows runners to be put into their hoped finishing times. Gate 1 is for the lunatics hoping to go sub 3 hours and gate 9 is for the lunatics hoping to complete dressed as tower bridge! I somehow was in gate 7? Surely gate 15 needed to be created for me?
I tiptoed into my gate, hoping that nobody would notice that I would need a Sherpa and a donkey to finish this race. I placed in my brand new earphones and decided to get in the zone!
We edged towards the start line, like a herd of cattle heading towards the unknown – with an equal amount of manure produced in my general area. Then suddenly positive thoughts ran riot...”I can do this! YEAH” I was almost expecting to be high fiving people. We started, 20 yards in I open up and start the rather impressive jog, 25 yards in I pass two people – Phhha Amateurs!, 28 yards in – I get cramp in both legs and have to pull over! OWWWWW. People pass me. A quick massage and a rearrange of the compression socks, 29 yards and I’m off... nope… I pull over again. This time fear is gripping me by the short and curlies! I cannot drop out of the marathon after 29 yards. What will everybody say, all the money I have raised, all the crap I bought hoping to help me!
Somebody asks me if I am ok, the male instinct kicks in.... “Yeah mate just a ping in the old calf. Be fine. “ Surely this is too early for false bravado. I begin to run again... no pain. Awesome, it was just a ping. I run into the first corner and I am hit by the first wave of support, there are hundreds of supporters waiting to cheer us all on. Kids are giving me high fives and I do it, (I am normally somebody who refrains from high fives, and consider them a bit cheesy and mainly for our transatlantic cousins!), but I do it. I am high fiving kids as I am running the London marathon.... This is AWESOME.
I run and the support is fantastic, it’s at a level that i cannot summarise fairly. People are cheering you on, if you look in pain, they call out your name and tell you they are proud of you! Families are giving you sweets, i have spent 4 months avoiding these but apparently the sugar helps with the run! The buzz is fantastic. I am even finding myself trying to gee up other runners who are in pain. I get to the Cutty Sark, I see the BBC, but don’t care.. I am running around the Cutty Sark... How cool is this!
I reach ten miles, with relative ease. I am nearly half way, this is easy! Is it too late to make the Olympic squad? 11 miles.. I still feel great. 12 .. fine.
Goose Pimple time – TOWER BRIDGE. I even slow to experience the crossing. I see Denise Lewis trying to stop a man dressed as a Rhino. I don’t care I am on top of the world. I cross the bridge.
Only runners will understand this, but the wall is more like suddenly running into 354995 litres of honey that some fool has left of the road. Every step now is hard. I decided, I am half way, I can do some walking and then some more running... I want to save some energy for the final run in (HAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAH – Sorry that is a hindsight laugh!).
13 miles is made even harder as this is the point you pass the gates 1-4 running RUNNING I tell you. Running at mile 22!
I traipse through and now the crowds support is immense and in no way condescending. They are cheering for you to carry on. So you do! Simple. I am walking and running and hurting, but I am not the only one. Many are in the same boat, so you start to chat to them. Why are they doing it? Is this the first? Which is always greeted with “YES and the LAST”.
Mile 14 – Tears! I am not ashamed to admit that I cried whilst running. I was reading various vests and sponsored shirts around the course, and all had some emotional element. However I fell in line behind a lady running for a Baby Hospice and on the back of her vest was a picture of babies feet and the name FREDDIE underneath. Running in pain and then bawling amongst 37000 other people was a strange sensation.
Sweat, Check, Tears, Check and now only for blood! Hey something to look forward to!
15- 19 Hurt. But now I had broken the back of the marathon, i wasn’t going to quit anyway I was walk running. 19.2 miles I am introduced to the “walls” big brother, I am not sure of his name so I created a few for him. I was now in agony. I can literally feel blisters forming, and that isn’t creative license... I actually could. I was joined by a lady called Claire, who was clearly in the same pain. We walked together for 5 miles, begging for the end to come. Literally dragging each other to the next mile marker.
In the same way my descriptive powers couldn’t do the level of support and party atmosphere that the crowds provides, my descriptive powers truly evade me when trying to come close to explaining the pain I am now in. I want to die.
My new found friend in similar agony says shes going to stop. I knew she wasn’t really going to when she had reached the 22 miles, but I pointed to her vest and said she couldn’t. She was running for Alzheimer’s. This trick I had been using for the last 5 miles. When the pain hit, I looked down at my shirt and saw STEPS and thought of my son... it hurt but I carried on. I had to.
As I stumbled on, a lady passed me and saw the pain I was in. She turned and said “ Remember, hundreds wont complete this today and 58 million didn’t even apply... you will finish this!”. Some renewed energy came flowing into my legs. A little burst and then more pain, but this camaraderie was common all day. I even partook in supporting people in trouble, this genuinely was a joint effort.
Claire pushed on believing that if she didn’t she wouldn’t be able to complete the race. I tagged on to another runner clearly in some distress. Carl.
Carl and I undertook an excruciating final 2 miles. He told me his wife had done it last year, and that he wanted to beat her time for bragging rights in the house. He was an hour behind and a substitution with Usain Bolt wasn’t going to help him make that up that time in under 2 miles!
Carl like me was suffering (sorry really not sure if the amount of pain is coming across here?). We kept each other going and even managed to barrack a final sprint out of each of us for the last 365 yards!
7 hours 53 secs.
Wilson Kipsanga wins in 2 hours 4 mins. Is he some sort of part time runner? He only ran for 2 hours I did 7 hours of running! I ask you, who worked harder!
A blister on my right foot the size of a 50p, a blister on my left foot the size of 20p and a bloody toe.
BLOOD check SWEAT check AND TEARS check.
An amazing day.......NEVER again!!
Sitting in a Hotel on Monday morning still scared.
I have just emailed Julie at STEPS asking for a place in the 2013 marathon!