My previous post I mentioned a group called Bosh who I am a member of on facebook, I am also a member of another group Running the World ( please do 'like' this group on facebook) This group has many members around the world from complete beginners to ultimate experienced. I joined this group when I first started running, reading all the posts but to shy to put a post out myself (I was never one to write about me, I actually dislike being in the limelight so I step back and observe) I read posts and take in all the information. What I did notice is the bond between people, the family community but a family of 9000 people!
One day, a man named Tim Christoni was posting pictures of his marathons, he lives in USA and participates in Rocknroll marathons across America I had never heard of 'RocknRoll' before but I loved the sense about a RocknRoll marathon, of course I threw it at the back of my mind because they were all in America...
Few months later I saw a post he put up saying he is doing a Liverpool RocknRoll marathon! UK are having a RocknRoll straight away without any hesitation I registered for the half. An hour later I emailed the organiser asking to change my half to the full. If I was going to rock it in Liverpool I wanted to rock it all the way!
Near the time Tim had set up an event page on Running the World for other members to meet and greet and have a photo taken. He had also set an event for post race drinks, a great opportunity for the members to actually meet each other!
Friday, 2 days before the race I had the pleasure of meeting this man, we met for dinner and for the few hours we talked non stop about work, charities, life and of course running. This man is an inspiration after admitting he has raised over £1500 for Macmillan Cancer Support, he is one of the most genuine and dedicated men I have met for a long time. I was very pleased for him when he completed the run in the time he wanted and I certainly will follow him on his other racing adventures.
Saturday, race day eve I met with Helene and Linda, Helene I will meet again shortly, Linda - well, friend for life I think! We started the race together, we spent the night out in town and never have I laughed so much in a long time! (this is another story altogether)
Linda and I started running together, it wasn't until mile 3 I had to drop back a bit, I was feeling pain on my foot, I knew already a blister was forming, I had to take it easy or I would be in more pain later. Mile 15 I saw the pacer and his 4:30 balloon run past me, I knew I was going to be nearing a 5hr marathon time, I did feel a bit disappointed because I should be getting faster in marathons, not slower! The day was hot, the course was not flat but the entertainment provided was superb, there were random singers located throughout the course, spectators cheering you on and shouting your name, the other runners slowing their pace and chatting to you, splashing water over your face not caring if it goes on the person next to you (sorry) Mile 22 had arrived, I felt the build up of emotion again, like I did on Brighton marathon. I have still not yet figured out why I really want to cry, It is really hard to explain to a non runner but I know my new 9000 friends from Running the World will understand. Mile 22-25 were amazing, I felt I was running like a gazelle, I had no idea where my energy came from but I ran! I ran until my legs could take no more ( slower than most but still quite fast for me, considering - or that's how I felt)
Mile 25 - I hit the wall!! literately! I stopped, the first time I stopped moving my legs, I remember one man just shouted over to me, carry on, I am only just around the corner! He shouted at me to keep moving, I have come this far and do not dare give up. I was not going to give up! I had to push on. I did! I walked but I kept on moving!
Whilst walking the last mile I was soaking in the past few hours, how I saw 3 people on the ground, I saw other runners helping other runners, I saw a community of strangers bond, children cheering, an old man and woman singing "keep on running", feeling the wind across my face running down by the pier, listening to the live music, the crowds cheering getting louder - I saw the finish line. I knew there were going to be 100's of people watching, calling my name so I pushed harder and I sprinted the last stretch, I felt free and I felt fantastic! (the picture above taken at this exact point)
I picked up my medal but before heading out to the concert and to meet Linda who has been waiting for me to finish I stayed around the finish line to wait for someone. Tristan and Gareth - It was my first time meeting them but they were members of the running group, Bosh we had exchanged messages and met briefly in the morning when we dropped off our bags. I had passed them in the race and spent few minutes talking, it was nice to see a familiar face.( they stopped me from crying because I had something else to focus on) At the end of the race I wanted my picture taken with them, 30 seconds later (literally) they came running through the finish line. We had our pic taken :)
Linda and I went to the post race meet, met more lovely people before heading off to town for a few drinks...