With just a day to go until the Virgin Money London Marathon, I’m getting pretty excited… but I’m not a complete novice. I know that tomorrow, it’s going to get tough. Really tough. (Last time I took part, it made me cry a little bit. Damn you, mile 23.)
Which is why I’m dedicating the last seven (point two) miles of the course to some special people, in the hope this will get me through. Because, you guys, I’m not going to give up in your mile. Promise.
Mile 20: Alex
This one’s for my best friend. Because she’s been there for me forever (at least, ever since we were a few weeks old). Because she has been my shoulder to cry on through some tough times, and I’ve been hers. Because, after some drunken nights out in the past, she was the one holding my hair back at 2am. Because we have laughed a lot together. Because sometimes life doesn’t go the way you plan, but that’s kind of OK if you have someone to help you through.
Mile 21: (Another) Alex
This one’s for another friend Alex. This Alex gave birth to twin boys on Thursday, which is, let’s face it, incredible, and terrifying, and wonderful, and beautiful, and awe-inspiring all rolled into one. And because of the fact that, despite how we may feel in those first few painful, exhausting, leaky, disorientating weeks, ALL new mums are goddesses (Goddesses, I tell you) this one’s for her. Plus, because I go on so much about how giving birth is so much harder than marathon running, it would be disrespectful of me to do anything other than run straight through that f*cking wall tomorrow.
Mile 22: My sister
I have always run a mile for my sister at the end of each marathon I’ve completed, because she’s the reason I started running in the first place. Having struggled with an eating disorder throughout her teens and early twenties, and so desperately worried at times we would lose her, she fought back to us from what I can only imagine were some very dark places. In my eyes, this pretty much makes her a warrior. And a true inspiration.
Mile 23: My parents
This one is for my parents, because they have given me so much and supported me through every decision I have ever made. But mainly because, until I became a parent myself, I just didn’t get. Oh boy, I do now. Thanks Mum and Dad.
Mile 24: My husband
This year, we’ll have been married for 10 years. Like any couple, we’ve had some amazing highs and difficult lows, and we have been on the most incredible adventure together. That adventure is still going strong. I bloody love you, Steve.
Mile 25: My kids
OK, they might have deprived my of HUNDREDS of hours of sleep over the past four years, they are messy, they go batsh*t crazy over broken biscuits and the ‘wrong’ socks, and my sofa is covered in bits of dried-on Weetabix, but I love them to their bones. What’s more, they have made me realise something: I am strong; I can cope with more than I ever thought I could, on the least sleep I have ever had; and what’s more, they have made me see I have actual superpowers (I can cure hurt knees with my kisses, don’t you know). If anyone has made me realise I can do this, these two have.
Mile 26 (point two): War Child and my sponsors
When I found out I had a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon, there was only ever one cause I was going to support. Images of children in refugee camps; children on small, overcrowded, sinking boats; and of scared, desperate faces, have made me feel pretty helpless. I am in awe of the work War Child does, to help protect and support vulnerable children in some of the most hostile conflict zones in the world. This final mile is for War Child, and for every single person who has sponsored me to run this marathon: I won’t let you down.
If you’d like to sponsor me to run the Virgin Money London Marathon, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/keeprunningmummy. Thank you!