Both these men had their own reasons for taking part in the 26 mile course that takes runners through the crowded streets of our nation’s capital.
For Richard, his quest was to raise as money and awareness for Ovarian Cancer Action. His auntie, Jo Bennett lost her live to the disease 3 years ago so his cousin, Becci Bennett put him forward to run the race. His fund raising efforts were remarkable, going over his target achieving in excess of £6,000.
As for Paul, well his story is well documented after he featured in the BBC series Mind Over Marathon. It explored the link between mental health and exercise, with the end goal of finishing the London Marathon and the work being undertaken by the charity Heads Together.
On Sunday, 23 April both Richard and Paul put on their running shoes to take part in the world’s most famous distance race, the London Marathon. Richard was allocated a Red start and Paul would begin his epic run from the Blue start.
Richard explained how the race panned out for his he said;
“My build up was not ideal, I suffered an injury so was limited to 20 minute training sessions on a treadmill. I had known for a while Paul was running so was hoping to see him on the day.”
“As I was going round I was looking for faces I knew in the crowd. I saw Plowy’s dad and he said Paul was about 10-15 mins behind me. It would have been great to run with Paul and cross the line together, but if I stopped to wait I would never have started again.”
Neither Paul or Richard wore ear phones during the race, Paul explained why, he said;
“When you run the London Marathon you want to be able to hear the crowds, its unique in that there are so many people lining the route watching and cheering you on.”
“For the first 19 miles or so I was looking at every face, it was like they were willing you on. I did have a few selfies along the way with people I knew, but I only stopped but only for a few seconds. Then for the last stages I blocked the crowd out so I could focus on finishing the race.”
“I did see Susie Featherstone, we passed near Tower Bridge. I went to the rail and spoke to her, it felt a bit bad when I told her I had done 21 miles or so, but she said she was holding up. I was about 10 miles ahead of her.”
Other things that stick in the runners mind about the race are the signs, Paul recalls one such sign he saw in the early stages that read ’Only 8 Miles To Go – #FakeNews’ and also the runners who needed medical help.
“When you pass the medical stations the best thing to do is not look. You see people getting help, it’s not a nice sight. You also know if you take any help you do not get a medal, that is it, race over.”
Paul also recalls seeing people getting help, he said; “I saw a guy on a stretcher getting gas, at that point I was in so much pain I felt like I wanted to get on a stretcher myself, it was very appealing at that moment in time.”
Richard took 4H 41MINS and Paul took 5H 1MIN to complete the course. Both men plan to run again very soon, but will they tackle the London Marathon again?
They both said they have a time to beat now, which makes it more tempting.
To make a donation toward Richards total please visit;
Find out More about Heads Together Visit
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