Whoever said doing a marathon was easy? I can’t believe anyone would ever think it was!
The day started pleasantly enough, walking to the tube with Alistair who saw me safely off, then went to find his favourite place for breakfast. I had my Nasio Vest and plastic bucket as well as my bags: One for the clothes to be put on the bus and one to carry any cash we collected. I travelled to Canal Street and met my running buddies and their significant others, to travel to the red and blue start.
I had been training with Zoe, Nic & Lee for the last 18 weeks and we had an incredible bond, one that many will never really know. The pains, the ups, the downs, the emotions and injuries all culminating in this one race/run/struggle whatever you want to call it! Meeting them that morning was strange, we were excited, nervous, feeling sick and all had various niggles that we hoped would just be physiological rather than real! We spent most of the journey squashed like sardines on a train, reassuring one another about the route and how we were feeling.
The morning was cool, overcast and breezy, just how I wanted it and I prayed that it would remain this way. Robin and I were setting off from the blue start so after a few photos, a coffee and a giggle we set off for the start line.
Lee and I had agreed to meet at mile 4, by this point it had really started to heat up, so I took a gel and emptied the cash I already had into my bag. Lee text to say where he was and I ran to him and off we went. The heat by mile ten was unbearable, I struggle in the heat and I began taking water from the Buxton volunteers in case the water in my camelback ran out – lessons from Milton Keynes the year before!
By mile 14 Lee’s and my injuries both started to rear their heads, so we downed some painkillers and kept focus on our strategy: 4 minute run, 1 minute walk. Lee started getting delirious and began filming us both – we both found this rather amusing and I prayed that he was not live streaming!
As the crescendo of noise dulled and the crowds diminished we focussed on our pace, kept each other sane and willed each other on to get to the finish. It is strange how when you have got through 18 miles, 8.2 seems like such a long way! As we hit Canary Wharf the crowds got louder and thicker: we saw the Run Mummy Run crew and I grabbed an orange, it was like nectar, I got a hug and some much needed encouragement. At the 20 mile mark we both started to struggle, it was a struggle like no other, as if my legs just stopped working as well as trying to wade through treacle; so I took another gel and prayed it would kick in. Lee was visibly in pain and I had no more pain killers, so we coached each other through the last few miles and hoped for the best.
With 800 yards to go we saw Lee’s wife Diane and his daughter Daisy, it was emotional seeing someone I knew. We offloaded the buckets and money and ran for the finish. Just before we turned the corner towards the finish I heard “Mel!” I turned to see Alistair and Charlotte and I ran over for a hug, Charlotte shouted at me to run but I just needed that human contact. Lee and I ran to the finish arms aloft and had a much needed hug. We had been through so much, so many physical and mental challenges, kept each other together through the hardest of times and most of all raised £80 between us!