To give a little background, in October 2002 I was a lump of inactive lard, heading for 16 1/2 stone. I decided that at the age of 45 it was about time I reversed the trend of decades and got myself a bit into shape. I therefore went on a bit of a diet, joined a gym and cut back on the booze.
6 months later I had lost over 5 stone. The hard bit is apparently keeping the weight off so I thought in a moment of madness 'why not enter the London Marathon' as that goal would invariably help keep me from regaining it all. Anyway, I got a golden bond charity place through The Wooden Spoon Society and decided to raise as much money as possible as well, and tell as many people as possible, so that I couldn't possibly back out when the training got tough!
In hindsight it has to be one of the best decisions I ever made, whether in a moment of madness or not.
The whole day was one of the best experiences of my life, there are just so many highlights that it is hard to pick a favourite but several do stick out, the spontaneous cheering as we turned onto Tower Bridge near half way, the spontaneous booing as the red and blue starts merged and began baiting each other!, and probably most memorable to me running past Charlton Church and the bell ringers playing 'Chariots of Fire'.
The crowds were magnificent all the way round, I carried a large inflatable wooden spoon advertising the charity and intended to chuck it away at the Cutty Sark, it became such an identifier, and so many thousands of people cheered me on with calls of go on Spoony or similar, that it became a great motivator, so I ran with it the whole distance
The worst part was without doubt the cobbles at the Tower, I was definitely hitting my 'wall' at around that time, and they were purgatory, the crowds along the embankment managed to lift me to get easily to the finish though!
It was also very depressing at the 13 mile mark seeing the elite runners coming the other way, 9 miles ahead of me!, mind you that feeling was later reversed when I ran past the 22 mile point and saw just as many people 9 miles behind me!
My goal was very ambitious, I wasn't happy, even in my first marathon (and I hadn't gone past 15 miles in training) with just finishing, I wanted to beat 4 hours, everyone thought I was mad!, I managed 3hours 53 minutes 27 seconds and was very very pleased with that, I have also raised over £5000 for the Wooden Spoon Society.
I celebrated with a glass or two of champagne in a very long deep bath later Sunday evening after the post Marathon charity party at the Park lane Hilton, which was an excellent way to finish a just brilliant day!
To prove the transformation, and that anything is possible, even from very very poor raw material, have a look, and a laugh, at the before and after photos on my fundraising website.
Nothing is Impossible!