A week when I remember it feels good to be proud
- Credit: Archant
I am lucky that I can do my bit, and then some.
I was overtaken by two rhinos, followed a butterfly for miles, bumped into a lion and a zebra, chatted to a witch and followed a man dressed as a toilet over the finish line.
It was the Virgin Money London Marathon 2018 and one of the proudest days of my life.
I absolutely loved every minute of the run, brutal as it was in that heat, but it's made me realise that as adults most of us rarely have big achievements any more. I'm super proud of our three girls, they're amazing achievers, and my days are scattered with little moments of personal pride, or maybe it's relief, such as when I rescue the sunflower seedlings from menacing looking slugs, when Sunny has cycled beside a lake without falling in, when Keola's hair stays in its competition bun or when Thalia gets into the car with everything she needs first time.
But big, work for them, really want them and not-sure-I-can-do-it-until-it's-done moments are rare on the ground for me these days.
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I wanted my London Marathon medal so badly it was all I have thought about for months, I did the training, I had phenomenal support from family and friends who believed I could do it, and on the day my good friend and fellow runner Lubie and I had our own Elite Cheer Squad willing us on.
They were amazing; standing in the heat for hours then, once they'd whooped and hollared at us, dashing through the crowds and underground stations to different points on the route for more cheering like loons. They definitely made a difference to our day.
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But I didn't really know, until I followed WaterAid toilet man over the finish line, if I could do it.
I think that's made the collapse during the race and death of runner Matt Campbell all the more shocking. He knew he could run a marathon and run one well, he'd completed them before – including one a fortnight earlier. He took the same excited pre-race pics of himself and his running buddy as Lubie and I. He set off probably with the same nervous anticipation and determination.
For him to collapse at mile 22.5 and later die, aged only 29, is unfathomable.
Add that to Norfolk's Simon Kindleysides being the first man to complete the London Marathon on borrowed robotic legs, knowing he wouldn't get an official finisher's medal as he was outside the finishing time, and knowing he has to return the legs and go back to his wheelchair – and it's been an emotional week.
It's made me appreciate my health, I trained, ran it and can run again. So I'm proud to be able to run the 3.7 FinishForMatt miles and donate to his Brathay Trust charity, and to be able to donate to Simon's Legs For Life fund too – as he says, you can't put a price on walking.
And from now on, I'm going to keep doing things to be proud of.