Around six months ago I entered the Virgin Money London Marathon Ballot. It was easy to do but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been quaking in my running shoes since – you see, when I applied I couldn’t even run a kilometer.
What’s the you say? ‘You’re a dreamer and a mentalist?’ – yes, yes, you’re right – I am.
I’d started the Couch to 5k two weeks before applying having never ran in my life and was jogging intervals of two minutes when the husband and I decided to apply. ‘Why not?’ I said, ‘we’ll have six months to train and I’ll be comfortably running 10k’s by the time we find out if we’re in’.
Pahaha how I laugh now.
After applying, I thought about my chances – they weren’t great, I mean half of the country would be applying for 20,000 places – there’s just no way I’d get a place the first time I applied. I resigned myself to the quite probable fact that I wouldn’t be running The London Marathon 2018.
As October approached, the reality hit home that I might actually get a place – I mean I can now run 10k as planned but nowhere near with the pace and ease I’d thought – even with running two to three times per week for the last five months , I still sound like an octagenarian dog with asthma when I run and I have all the grace of a hippo with a gammy ankle – shit.
I could actually get a sodding place – shit.
For two days this week it was at the forefront of my mind – shit. What’ve I done?
Why on earth did I think I could run a sodding Marathon? I’m a thirty five year old mother of two and I’m a good three stone over-weight!
Every time the post landed my heart raced – shit. I jumped up to see if there was an answer.
Two days this week we got no post. Nothing. Zero. I started thinking the local posties were on strike or something.
Then one of the days we got this leaflet – we don’t even sodding like cats.
The night before we got our answer, I said to Dan that we would probably get in as it was a logistical nightmare and all the hotels would be either fully booked or cost £1,000,000 for the weekend – so we started looking at hotels – there were loads available really close to the finish line and the prices were really reasonable.
This ruined my theory. Shit.
We yoyoed like this for days.
It was torture.
Then we got the email.
It was a big, fat no.
What surprised me was the feeling of dissappointment mixed with relief! I’ve just had gait analysis and new shoes – I’m ready to train – but now I need an event!
A few comments from my friends who are also rejects …
“Could not be more relieved – I’ve got enough on my plate without training for a marathon too”.
“I’m gutted as I really wanted London to be my first. Logistically it is a shitter though – my husband ran it when our first baby was 10 months, and we stayed with a friend in Croydon the night before. Then I heaved my way through London with a pram to find the Macmillan cheer points. It worked, but I know he was a bit stressed worrying about me, and I’d probably be the same if it were the other way around. Still, I would have run it with so much pride! 2019 maybe…”
“Alternative route is going through a charity – they will have spaces in exchange for raising a bit of cash. Plus they always have things like parties the night before, sports massage afterwards, etc. “
I, like many others, wanted London to be my first marathon. I could go for a charity place, but the pressure of raising £2k plus on top of training, working and parenting just seems like too much.
I know of people being rejected for the eleventh time!
Hopefully one day they’ll devise a fairer system but until then we’ll be looking at other marathons or not – you know – 26.2 miles is a bloody long way.