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My London Marathon experience: why, how and when.

In December 2012 I turned 40 and started considering what challenges I could set myself. On a whim I applied for a ballot place in the London Marathon, bear in mind at this stage I didn’t even run for a bus.

With hindsight I was really lucky not to get a place at that time. The seed however was planted and in August 2017 I ran my first half marathon. At this time I was strong from my gym workouts but was not a runner. As part of my half marathon training I joined a local running club six weeks before the event and crossed that finish line with a great sense of achievement. The challenge grew and in April 2018 I completed my first full marathon in Brighton and in April 2019 I ran Blackpool marathon. I had decided I was only ever going to run one marathon!

In May 2018 my dad was diagnosed with PSP. This hit me and got me thinking what could I do to raise awareness and funds for this illness of which I had no knowledge of prior to May 2018. Once again my mind turned to the London Marathon. I applied for a ballot place which again I was unsuccessful for.

Whilst exploring my dad’s illness I came across PSPA. This was a sign! I applied online for a place and I remember the day in September 2019 when I got a phone call offering me a #TeamPSPA place in the London Marathon 2020. This happened to be the same day as my dad’s consultant appointment. For me this was a clear sign it was meant to be.

In December 2019, my mum who was my world and my dads carer suddenly died this changed my world so much. I have been so fortunate to have an amazing family and friends who support my goals and dreams and marathon training continued.

In February 2020, I held a charity fundraiser where a local band offered their services free of charge and so many local and national companies offered raffle prizes and this event alone raised over £1,000 for PSPA.

THEN… lockdown occurred. It was so hard to keep motivated during this time. I realise I’m not a lonely runner and prefer to run with friends. Training halted particularly with no goal of London 2020 to aim for. I suffered an injury and like many, the stresses and strains of life at that time took hold.

On 26 April 2020 I was not physically or mentally able to commit to running 26.2 miles however, I decided maybe I was able to cycle it and that’s what I did to help mark to original date the marathon should have taken place.

Where I am at now? I plan to take part in the virtual London Marathon on 4 October, 26.2 miles locally supported by my running friends. I’ve applied to run the London Marathon now in 2022. I’ve chosen this date to avoid hot summer training runs.

Whilst it’s been a whole rollercoaster of emotions since that initial phone call confirming my place, one thing that keeps me humble and motivated is this rollercoaster is nothing compared to what my dad faces each and every day living with PSP.

 

Sara.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sara-whittaker2?utm_id=124

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