Did you watch the London Marathon today and have suddenly become inspired to take up running and maybe even one day run the marathon? Yes, so did I!
I think it’s almost impossible not to, whether it’s from watching the exciting finish to both Men’s and Women’s Elite Races, the races among the British athletes to hit the qualifying times for Rio, including an amazing race from Callum Hawkins. When was the last time a Scottish athlete beat the world record holder? Or, like most of us, you have become inspired by watching thousands of “normal” people complete the marathon either for themselves or for charity and also Tim Peake running the marathon in the International Space Station. Today’s London Marathon had it all.
I don’t think it matters if you’ve never run before or have run several marathons, there’s always something about the event which makes you want to get up, put your shoes on and go for a run. Whether it’s the same day, tomorrow or the next day, one of the things that I love the most about this event is that it inspires many people to take action and start running. Even though I have run 17 marathons, watching London still makes me feel the same as it did in the 80’s and 90’s before I became a runner and in 1997, the year that eventually got me off the couch and start training for my first ever marathon in London in 1998.
Running that first one completely changed my life and lead me to a career as a Personal Trainer, inspiring others to follow their dreams. It wasn’t just my achievement though that made the difference, it was the camaraderie among runners, the incredible wall of noise that greets the runners along the Embankment when all they really want to do is stop but dig deep to keep on going, the sight of Big Ben which means you’re almost finished and the sight of the finish line as it edges closer and you are able to cross it. I was also aware of another runner whose legs had long since gone but for the generosity of another runner who put his arm around him and they crossed the finish line together. That moment summed up the magic of the marathon for me. It’s not just the effort to run 26.2 miles, it’s about sharing that experience with thousands of others who have incredible stories, were inspired to run just the same as you and will help you get to the finish line as you will find yourself doing the same for them.
The great thing about this event is that it brings together many people from all walks of life who have all been inspired either by watching it on tv, by someone else who has run it, the challenge that it presents or those who have the desire to challenge themselves and represent a charity close to them and in memory of a friend or family member. The significant thing is it doesn’t matter how long it takes to do it, you’ve still completed a marathon, have a nice shiny medal and a sense of pride (along with stiff legs) that you’ve just done something amazing that can’t be taken away from you. You will have stiff legs, stairs will be an absolute nightmare for days afterwards but it will have been totally worth it. You will become the hero that inspires others.
So what happens now? Do we pluck up the courage to enter the ballot for next year’s race? Do we look around at any of the hundreds of marathons around the UK or even one in Europe or elsewhere around the world? Yes! Whether it’s London or somewhere else (I always recommend somewhere that you can build a short holiday around), you need to take action and put a reminder in your phone for the day the ballot/entries open otherwise the moment will have passed and you may end up a year further down the line in the same position.
Me? I have already got my entry in for Paris Marathon in 2017 and also thinking about Loch Ness Marathon in September.
How about you? Have you become inspired by watching London today? Will you be entering the ballot for next year? If you could run a marathon anywhere else in the world, where would it be? Are you ready to become a hero?