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It’s a marathon, not a sprint (pt 3)

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

In the third part of our spring marathon blog, we look at the London marathon and get the views of two Dashers who took part.

Firstly, Winston Matthews and for him the 2019 marathon was very special.

Winston writes, London is always special for me, the city I was born in and have spent most my working life. 2019 was my 7th London Marathon and my 14th Marathon in eight years of running. I hate running, I am a cyclist and only took up running to lose weight. I was 17.5st when I started and a lot lighter now.

So I have the bug!! I said I would on do 1 .....

I did London two years ago with my two elder daughters and my youngest has always been left out due to only being 16 at the time. This year she turned 18 and wanted to do London as part of her gap year bucket list - So the infamous Team Matthews was formed, Daddy, Molly, Ruth and Lucy.

Training was challenging with tears and tantrums mainly from me! The girls worked really hard and did the miles and as a family we re engaged with the Dashers

The support and encouragement from the club has been truly amazing and makes me so proud to be a member .

Thank you Dashers!!

Our membership secretary, Cathy Farrant Hutt also decided this was the year to try London as she is 60 this year and thought it would be a good addition to her bucket list challenge. She entered the club ballot not seriously thinking she would get a place, however her name was the first to be drawn out !

Cathy writes, so I had a place in the London Marathon and I decided to run for Wycombe Youth Action, a charity in High Wycombe that gets no Government funding.

Training was ok, I am not a fast runner but I plod along. I did most of my training on my own, but many days I had Ann Chandler, Lucy Bowring, Emma Tyler for company.

I have an old knee injury and my weight wouldn’t help and eventually the knee pain got too much, I had to go and see a physio because I thought it might have been something serious. He assured me it wasn’t, that I had to use the foam roller, gave me some other exercises to do with a tennis ball and I had to do them consistently, but this stopped me doing longer runs for about 5 weeks which put me behind on my training. This really helped but the pain still niggled.

On the day there was a great atmosphere when we set off and there were people almost all the way along the route. Two of the most amazing sights though was to see 100s of people ahead of me, many colours of shirts, many different charities represented, many people in different types of fancy dress. But most spectacular was seeing the red and blue runners eventually converge into us from the left. It was quite emotional, exciting and an amazing sight, I wished at that point I had a GoPro to record even just that.

I was doing quite well until around 11 miles when the muscle in the back of my left knee pulled and I was in agony. I tried to run again but the pain was too much. Oddly though there was no pain when walking. I had quite an argument with myself, to just pull out and let everyone down, especially people who donated for the WYA, or to continue another 16miles walking ! During this argument I reasoned that if I did pull out, I still needed to get to the finish to get my kitbag so I’d have to walk a long way anyway, so I may as well walk the whole route and get a medal and finish the London Marathon.

It was a struggle, I was annoyed, angry, fed up and feeling really miserable having to walk all that way. I was so wrapped up in my own head and feeling sorry for myself that I nearly missed the many friends along the way waiting to gee me along and cheer me up.

Along the way I was really looking forward to the Lucozade aid station at mile 23. As I got to there, it was quite quiet and they were busy cleaning up. I shouted ‘Hello Dashers’ and got a huge hug from Angie Hannigan which was so welcomed, another big hug from Smruti, cheers and waves from Ben, Claire and Steve. Only a park run left until I finished.

Coming onto Birdcage walk a Marshall was directing me towards the barrier. Turns out it was Joe Nolan which was a lovely surprise and he was directing me to Lucy who was waiting there to give me a hug. As I started off again I saw Robin Smith who was also marshalling.

I was generally feeling really fed up and miserable, the pain in my leg was really bad, my legs were getting stiff and aching from walking for so long. All in all I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. So much so that I didn’t even really take in the last few 100 meters to the finish. I got over the finish line and a wonderful sight awaited me, the smiling face and a big hug from Ann Chandler.

The supporters and marshalls along the route were amazing, there were people singing outside pubs, where side roads were blocked off there were street parties and BBQs, there were people giving out sandwiches, sweets, orange slices.

Being a slower runner, or more to the point a walker, gives you time to take in the people around you. There was an Army Veteran fast walking on crutches near me, raising money for Walking With The Wounded charity and one lady who was running for SANDS charity. She had the following on the back of her shirt: Liam, 28-04-2017 to 28-04-2018 and she was running in his memory on 28-04-2019, heartbreaking.

Am I now pleased that I took part in London Marathon? Yes.

Did I enjoy it? No.

Any regrets? Yes, I regret that I beat myself up so much and didn’t actually take the time to enjoy the journey as much as I should.

Would I do it again? Not in a million lifetimes

Oh, the ballot is open again......

So there you have it, two views of London and a full range of emotions that people experience when running marathons.

If these blogs have inspired you to run a marathon later this year our next year do talk to anyone in the club who has run 26.2 miles – it is an unforgettable experience.


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