Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Running the London Marathon to raise funds for adoption & fostering

BAAF's very own Senior Media & PR Officer Dan French was among the thousands of runners who took part in the 2012 Virgin London Marathon on Sunday, April 22. Here, he talks through the day and encourages others to consider signing up for the 2013 race.

When I agreed last summer to take part in the Virgin London Marathon 2012, I had no real idea what I was letting myself in for. Sure, those that have raced before explain how difficult the training can be, but nobody truly prepares you for running in the freezing cold, the pouring rain, and the amount you sweat during a rare moment of British sunshine – not to mention the horrific injuries you sustain!

Last Sunday, the big day finally arrived. I don’t care what any bride tells you – travelling down to the VLM has to be far more nerve-racking than making your way to the church for your wedding.

Just after 10am, I, alongside thousands of runners, set off on my 26 mile mission. I have to say that the first 10 miles passed by without too much pain, but after that I began to count the miles and look out for each mile marker.

I spotted friends and family around the 18 mile mark, which truly was a high. It sounds cliché, but if it wasn’t for the amazing crowds on the day, I doubt that runners would make it through the race. The adrenaline and excitement of the day started to wear off shortly afterwards and by mile 24, I was ready to give up. For the first time during the race I started walking, which was the point that I saw a young girl in the crowd, cheering me on. “Come on, Dan – keep running, you can do it!” I rolled my eyes, begrudgingly picked up the pace, and somehow managed to break into what can only be described as a pathetic hobble.

Those next two miles were pretty excruciating, but the pain began to fade when I saw a banner claiming “Only 800m left!” and promptly broke into a sprint. I saw a man in a rhino costume and a couple of people dressed as Wombles – no way was I going to let them beat me!

Five hours and two minutes after I started the Virgin London Marathon, I crossed the finish line, euphoric, proud, and SO pleased I agreed to take part in such an amazing challenge.

If you would like to sign up to the 2013 VLM to help raise money for the British Association for Adoption & Fostering, please visit the BAAF fundraising site. If you would like to sponsor Dan for his efforts on the day, head over to his sponsorship page.

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