Well here we are - the day that feels an impossibly long way away when you receive the "Congratulations" magazine through the door is very nearly here. Yes, the London Marathon is on Sunday.
(First I have a joyous few days ahead where I don't have to run and can eat white bread galore - almost makes the nerves worthwhile!)
Given everything that's happened in the last few days, there is a slightly... well, different
atmosphere in the run up to this Sunday, I think for everyone who is competing.
The nervous excitement is diluted slightly by the very vivid scenes of what happened in Boston
just 48 hours ago - scenes that still feel bizarre and surreal, as well as being actually awful.
Meanwhile last Sunday at the otherwise glorious Brighton Marathon there was the sad death of a runner
, something which does of course happen from time to time, but is always upsetting to hear. And there was also the news that Andrew Marr believes
his sudden stroke was triggered by energetic exercise.
I won't pretend these things did not play on my mind. Of course they did. But they shouldn't prevent me or anyone else from giving their all to the spirit of the marathon on Sunday. On the one hand, there is nothing to link these events with what I am about to do beyond timing and circumstance; I don't believe the evil bomber(s) in Boston were targeting a marathon, sport or runners. And, sadly those who die or become ill due to sport are usually suffering from undiagnosed conditions that would strike at some point (cf. Andrew Marr above). Yet at the same time the fact that these things did
happen at a fellow marathon mean that we all must continue - to show we are not cowed by terrorists, to celebrate the spirit that running conjures up amongst all involved, and all that is good about competitive, but friendly, sport. Plus, of course, to raise money for the many cause we are supporting - including, in my case, the Stroke Association
I wanted to say a massive thank you
to all of you that have generously sponsored me over the last few weeks - it sounds a bit trite, but it really is inspiring and does help to provide meaning at times when I think it's all madness! I haven't managed to thank many of you in person, so apologies that this is a slightly impersonal means of doing so.
If you've not had a chance to do so yet but would like to - then both I and the Stroke Association would really appreciate your money. You can read more, and sponsor me, at this link
If you are free on Sunday, then it'd be lovely to see some supportive faces on the course to cheer me on! You may already be planning to head out, and have plans about where you'll be - however if you'd like to join up for some co-ordinated cheering, then that'd be brilliant. Mark and others will be at the same mile 14 and 21 points that we recommended in 2008
- you can see a little map and descriptions here on our website from that time
, with apologies for the broken (and sadly not fixable) Google Map embeds. And ignore all the bits about the finish and after-party...
Whatever happens, I'll let you know how I get on (or you can see for yourself on the Marathon website!)