RUNNING ALL OVER MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
On Sunday 13th April 2014, I yet again proved to myself more than anyone else, that despite a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 2007, you can achieve your dreams. In 2007 the thought of running to the top of the road was a distant dream never mind completing one of the toughest endurance events out there. However with hard work, dedication and a plan - I was able to complete the London marathon in 4 hours and 42 seconds last Sunday.
I flew over to London on Saturday to register for the event and after an early night on Saturday, I was up at 5am to get some breakfast into me - a hearty enough one at that comprising of two omelettes, porridge and toast. The bus then took us from the hotel to the start zone of the race. It was an incredible experience, very hard to explain to those that haven't been through it themselves, however I would highly recommend it. At 10am the starting gun went off and me and my good pal "Gmac", started off on the 26.2mile adventure through one of the worlds great City's. From 50 yards in, the crowds were roaring us on as if every runner, all 36000 of us was a family member. It really was incredible support from the locals, and without it I might still be running.
To complete a marathon its advisable that you complete a few longer runs around 18/20 mile to stand you in good stead on the build up to the big day. However unfortunately I picked up an injury in February and I wasn't able to keep to my training plan. The fact is I only got one 16 mile run in a number of weeks ago so as I was approaching miles 16 and 17 I was concerned as to how I was going to hold up. Well the truth is I did hold up but I was in a lot of pain. Marathon pain is a weird type of pain - a cross between a lingering neuralgic pain and excructiating muscle pain, but I was never going to give up. I couldn't and as I was slipping into a deep mind-set of down right stubbornness its fair to say that I was asking myself all sorts of questions, mostly around the topic of - what the hell did I sign up to this for.
At mile 21 I looked at my watch and I worked out if I lifted my pace I would make it within the 4 hour mark which is a very respectable time for running a marathon. It meant I would have to run the last 5.2 miles quicker than the last 10 miles. How was I supposed to do that, when the pain was becoming intolerable. Well the truth is I grind my teeth, dug in and put one foot in front of the other. I kept going, and going and going. At mile 25 I was really struggling but stuck at it. I took a look up at the crowd and seen a lady holding a small sign in black marker "1.7mile to a beer" . . . and even in the midst of agony at that point, I cracked a very dismal grin at the attempt at humour by the witty spectator.
Mile 26 was approaching and my pal "Gmac" tapped me on the back of the head to inform me he was next to me. I had lost him over the last few miles but he's a dogged type too and it was great to see him at that stage of the adventure. 800 metres to go was the next sign i remember seeing which felt like 8 miles to go to be honest. Then 400 metres, still running but a lot slower. 200 metres to go and the fella in front of me had just collapsed, and two St Johns ambulance crew where trying to hold him upright. I jogged on past him with the sun beating off my forehead and crossed the line on the button of 4 hours a very tired, proud man.
I walked the half a mile down Buckingham palace way absolutely in pieces with my new medal around my neck. I didn't have the energy to appreciate what I had just achieved not just for me but also for the ~MS Community.
Three days have passed and the achievement has started to settle in. I am chuffed to bits that yet again I defied the medics amongst many others, that just because you have MS, does not mean you cannot go on to live a fulfilling life.
This is my 4th marathon in 3 years and its got my 2014 off to a flyer. I have a number of challenges and projects on the horizon and I am looking forward to making this year one to remember.
I hope my success in London inspires at least one person in the world to start moving and get out there and challenge your mind and the stereotypes that surround almost everything.
I will take a day or two off my training to relax and let the body repair itself, but next week I will be back at it and plan to hit the pool and gym to get myself ready for the Triathlon season. I will keep you posted on my progress