No matter what I did, the cold just would not shift, I sat on the train on Saturday morning, sniffing and sneezing, much to everyone around me's disgust. Arriving in Cambridge, I was looking forward to getting to the hotel, grabbing something to eat and catching a few more hours sleep before everyone else arrived - it was NEVER going to be that easy.
After a bit of confusion with the hotel I was staying in, I finally managed to sit down and rest for a few hours before Mum, Meg and Emily arrived. Self-doubt was screaming at me but I kept quiet, reassuring everyone that I was okay to run.
A marathon for real marathoners...
Around 3 miles in I turned around and saw only one person behind me. ONE PERSON. I'd started in the middle of the pack, how had that happened?! I slowed down to speak with her and she reassured me that dozens of other people were behind us. We chatted for a while, she was running the half-marathon but was great company up until mile 6 when I stopped to speak to Darren and Norton who were waiting for me with a pot full of hand-picked red jelly babies (thank you)!
After a brief chat I ran off through the fields, catching up with a man called DaveO who was planning to walk/run the marathon. Several other marathoners surrounded me and we stuck together, chatting about other races as we avoided huge areas of mud. As we crossed the 7 mile mark one runner declared 'ONLY 19 MILES TO GO GUYS', I wish I could have captured my look of disgust.
A Tsunami of Doubt But An Ocean of Determination
I caught up with a girl who seemed to be struggling some what, 'marathon or half?' I asked her, 'HALF AND NEVER AGAIN' she panted back at me. I offered her a jelly baby which she refused, looking like she might cry, 'you can do this' I told her, and pushed for a slightly faster pace. I really hope she made it to the finish line okay but at that stage I didn't need any more doubt than I already had with 14 miles ahead of me.
SOmetimes In Life We Have To Fail But Not Today
Following arrows made of flour and water on the floor, I was directed in to a field. "OH BE JESUSSSS" I heard a man shout as he fell flat on his face. I couldn't help but laugh as he stood up covered head to toe in thick black mud, he wasn't quite so amused (I get my sense of humour from my mum - sick). I attempted to walk through it, the circumference of my trainers grew significantly with every step until I was basically wearing moon boots as I came out the other side.
I had to scrape my moon boots clean with my hands (pretty grim) and resisted the temptation to give myself some army style face paint before powering on. Mark, Allie and Beth drove past, beeping frantically at me, followed by Meg, Mum and Emily. That was a nice little boost so soon after having seen them.
Feet Fail Me Not, THis May Be THe Only Opportunity I've Got
I spotted everyone standing on the side of the road at mile 18. They were all in hysterics over random marathoner's running styles - I think when the time comes we'll have assess the way they run!! I looked at Brian's garmin, trying to work out how far I had to go, 'This is bang on mile 18,' Mark told me, 'I've run 8 miles a million times' I replied before running off to catch up with the couple who I'd been pacing myself with.
If you don't go home with a sore throat, as a spectator, then you're doing it wrong.
Never Give Up, Your Dreams Will Become Reality
This hasn't been easy. I really did underestimate what running 12 marathons would involve but I'm so very grateful for the amazing opportunity and strength my family and friends give me to power on.
Please click here and sponsor Team Run 12, working for Breast Cancer Care and Cancer Research UK. Thank you x