On 19th April I was supposed to have run my first marathon. But of course, this couldn’t happen. Prior to the lockdown, there had been talk of participating in an alternative marathon with some members of the club. But again, this couldn’t happen. I then had two options: not to run, or to run my first marathon on my own.
After potentially having coronavirus myself and being ill for two weeks, to then losing my grandma to the virus, I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to do it.
But I just couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. I mentioned it to a couple of friends and they suggested to run via their houses to wave to as I go past. With that, I plotted a route that would go past five of my friends’ houses. I mustered up the energy to vocalise my ludicrous plan to my parents and to my surprise, they thought it was an amazing idea.
Well, since I had mentioned it aloud, I had to do it.
So, I decided that on Monday 13th March, I was going to run my first marathon. I woke up at 5.30am as I thought leaving early would mean seeing as few of the general public as possible. I got all togged up with my highly fashionable trail running vest filled with copious amounts of gels, water and various other necessities.
I sent my live location to those who were expecting me to zoom past their houses, and started on my mission. It was a perfectly cold morning and I was feeling fresh. I knew I was ready for this moment as I was able to run up the Bishops Avenue without stopping: something I have been trying to do for years. Or, perhaps it was Toto’s 'Africa' playing in my ear that enabled this drive in momentum.
The first eight miles were a breeze. There were no people around and hardly any cars on the roads. Running through Camden was actually verging on slightly scary as there was no apparent life in the place. It was at this point that a friend of mine joined me for a few miles. Of course, we ran at an acceptable social distance, but it was lovely to have the company for a part of the way.
I was now halfway through and was about to run past the first of my friends. He came out, clapped for me, of course took a photo, and then I was off. I then continued with my run and running past my ‘crowd’ at various points. I even had the Rocky theme tune being played and a pot banging extravaganza that continued to push me onto hitting the 18 mile mark.
Once I had hit 20 miles, I was starting to get hot, could feel my legs beginning to tire and started to worry about making it back to my house in 6.2 miles. Unfortunately, I had ‘over plotted’ when drawing my route out and this was not going to be possible. However, I kept going and by the time I had reached Hampstead Heath at 24 miles, I had a sudden surge to complete the last 2.6 miles. And I did. I had done it!
Luckily, my hero mother came to meet me at the heath once I had finished and drove me back home. I got out of the car just a bit further down the road and used every ounce of energy left in me, to jog up to the drive. There I was met by my dad, sister and dog, two of whom were holding an unexpected make shift finish line. On running through this I was awarded a large, gold cardboard medal and a piece of tin foil around my shoulders. I had now ‘officially’ finished my first marathon and I loved every second of those 4 hours and 16 minutes.
I have sent my evidence off and I am longingly awaiting the arrival of my virtual plan B marathon medal. But, for now, I shall wear my cardboard one with lots of pride and continue to rest my legs!