• Charlotte Thorogood

Running the Marathon; the good, the bad and the ugly

This is a throwback to when I ran the marathon a few years ago. It's one of my proudest achievements and I love re-reading this, so I hoped you'd enjoy it too.

The marathon. A word that rolls off the tongue.  A word that if you don’t think about too hard seems like just another box to tick.

I’m always game for a challenge but when I started my marathon journey I never believed that it would become such a major part of my world in its build up.

There’s a hype surrounding that 26.2 mile race that you don’t quite realise until you find out you’re going to have your role in it.

It started out last August when I received that email to say ‘you’re in!’ That in itself is an achievement. I planned how I was going to raise that elusive £2,500 and got organising quizzes, tea parties and all sorts. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that people are behind you every step of the way – it really didn’t go unrecognised.

Then there’s the training. I can safely say that there were many cold, wet and windy days that should have been days spent on the sofa - not putting in the miles on the road!

The week before. I really struggled in the week leading up to the marathon, I just wanted to get there in one piece. The slightest niggle saw me go to pieces, I had moments when I thought I’d forgotten how to run and I lost any ability to cope with everyday tasks. You don’t want to let anyone down – and that takes over. I was not a pleasure to be around in the days leading up to the 26th April… so I apologise, maranoia really does set in.

The day itself. I was strangely calm on the day – there’s nothing else that can be done. As I strolled to the start from Greenwich (…that adds another mile to the day!) I found that you become everyone’s friend and I loved that about it. It’s London at it’s best.

The start. There’s a strange mix of nerves and excitement at the start and you just want to get out there to put those long months of training to the test. You settle into a pace, find your rhythm and try not to think about how far there is to go. But of course, that’s all you can think about!

It wasn’t until I reached mile 11 that I saw anyone I knew. A familiar face gives you a boost that sees you through the next mile. Through mile 13 – 15 I saw lots of friendly faces and I felt good – the crowds and the noise that they create won’t ever leave me.

The wall (I’d heard a bit about this). It hit me like a tonne of bricks. At mile 17 my tank was empty. I worried that I still had 9 miles to go and from then it was an uphill struggle. There were moments when I wanted to cry – I repeated the moto ‘Pain is temporary, Pride is permanent’ over and over between mile 17 and 21. It actually hurt more to walk than run so I pushed on. The peaks and troughs of the marathon are undeniable.

Every time I saw my wonderful friends I was carried that bit further and then it was the home straight. The feeling when I reached mile 24 was awesome – I knew I could do it. So, I picked myself up and dragged my legs step by step to the finish. And then with 800m to go (a very welcome sight!) I saw my Dad, a totally unexpected surprise and we even managed a high five!

The day is awesome. The crowds make it. Running is for anyone, the marathon proves just that.

If you want to do it then you’ll get to the finish… and if you finish you deserve to wear your medal with pride – it proves you’re tougher than average.

I’m so proud to say that I’ve raised over £2,500 for Teenage Cancer Trust and I’ll never forget the day and that feeling as I turned up the Mall to the finish line. It will stay with me forever – and that’s what challenges are all about.

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