Last Sunday I ran the London Marathon, and it will go down as one of the greatest experiences of my life. You might be reading this as a veteran marathon runner and find yourself nodding in agreement, but if you’re someone that has never considered it before, I would urge you to give it a go.
At the beginning of the month we started a campaign to raise funds for The Prostate Cancer Charity and Breast Cancer Care. Together they are the most common forms of cancer in the UK and will have touched many of our lives. Within the last few years I lost my Grandfather to prostate cancer, so it’s a cause particularly close to my heart.
To help the charities with their work in prevention and education we decided to make a donation for every transaction processed through Buyometric during April. I also signed up to run the London Marathon for the charities to personally contribute what funds I could raise from my cash strapped relatives and friends.
The training was very hard. I’m not a natural runner – nor naturally athletic in any respect – and am far better off with a computer than any kind of gym equipment. That said, running in the dark through snow and sheet ice can’t be anyone’s idea of fun. In the past few months I’ve tripped over fallen branches, cut my legs on barbed wire, and misplaced many a step straight in to deep mud. And it’s not just physically demanding – my family have suffered from the lack of my presence over the weekends when I’d be out for 3 or 4 hours running then too exhausted to be of any use. On a positive note, the carb loading was truly welcome.
Then the big day arrived. The night before I accidentally melted my charity running vest while attempting to iron my name to the front, so an emergency kit change kept me up late into the night. It was a very early start up to Greenwich Park where the toilet queues were only beaten in length by the number of instructions to remember. How much water to drink, when to take energy gels, and how to pace myself all went out the window when I crossed the start line because all I could concentrate on where the crowds. Tens of thousands of people cheering, shouting my name, willing me on. It was awesome.
I reached the finish line in a time of 4 hours 23 minutes, a time that I’m delighted with. It means I beat both Gordon Ramsay and Will Young who both finished along side me. The sense of achievement was temporarily replaced by nausea and I was forced to sit under a tree in St James’ Park for half an hour feeling terrible. A pizza seemed to cure it.
The sense of elation to have completed the London Marathon is hard to describe. The tragic death of Claire Squires at mile 25 is a reminder that this is an extraordinarily demanding feat. Despite the pain and gruelling training, I am already having withdrawal symptoms and am trying to work out how I could improve my time if I were to do it again. Perhaps not next year – I owe my family a break – but I think I’ll probably be back some day soon.
You can ready more about my personal story at justgiving.com/pauljohnfisher, however for now i’d just like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign and sent me direct messages of support – I read each and every one and can assure you they helped me get through to the end!