Let me start with a little story of my time leading up to the marathon. I started my training plan last September and was on a good schedule, slowly building my long runs and having no pain with the gradual increase. Then in December I got forced off the road by a car and injured my left foot.
By January 15, my running came to a screeching halt. After a 5-mile run I could barely walk on my left foot. I was diagnosed with a stress fracture and told not to run or put any stress on it for 6 weeks and then only light exercise for 2 weeks. This brings me up to March 15 and leaving me only 1 month to get ready for the Marathon.
This was a tough month: I took my dog with me on a lead to keep me slow - this plan worked. Within the 2 weeks I was back up to 12 miles or so in about 2 hours. I was no longer counting miles but counting time on feet running. Thanks to my friends Darren Baker, Christine Anthony and Neil Anthony I was able to get these long runs in on soft ground combined with hills to build strength.
They helped me out so much on race weekend, by giving me the mental strength, a place to stay in London and a great pasta feast, not to mention fighting the crowds in the London Underground to cheer me on around the course. I really don't think I could have done it without them. I would also like to thank my wife Doris for pushing me out the door in that final month, nagging at me and reminding me that I only had so much time left.
Now onto the actual marathon...The best moment had to be seeing the sign that said only 800m to go. Seeing that sign lifted my spirits so much that I was able to dig deep down and put in what felt like a sprint finish after over five hours of jogging. God definitely answered my short prayer I said just before the race started to just give me the strength to finish.
The worst moment had to have been at 19 miles when my back muscles became so sore and tight that I honestly didn't think I was going to finish. I stopped at 20 miles and went to the side to stretch them out and the crowd was so great they tapped me on the shoulder and said 'you are almost there; don't quit now'. I then started to walk and after about 5 minutes was able to jog again.
I made it to the 22 mile marker and once again almost dropped out because of back pain, but once again the people cheering me on saying 'don't stop, you can do it, only 4 miles more' gave me the strength to continue. After a short walk I started to jog again and stopped occasionally to stretch just to start jogging again.
The biggest surprise had to have been a young lady named Susan. She was running in a string bikini with her name written across her bum. That was definitely the last thing I expected to see at a marathon.
The most memorable moment was when I came up to the Tower Bridge - I knew this was about the halfway mark but it just didn't seem like I had gone that far. My legs and body still felt fairly fresh, I looked at my watch and thought I could definitely make my goal time frame of 4:20:00 - 4:30:00.
What would I do differently? Not participate in a marathon after only 1 month of training. What was the key to my success? Friends, my faith that God would answer my prayer for the strength to finish, and all the supporters telling me to keep going.