Posted by Laura Coakley on 25 February 2010
Allocating our charity bond places for the Virgin London Marathon 2010 was a marathon challenge in itself. Over 100 people applied for just 16 places. All of the applications were strong on individual merits with nearly everyone having personal experience of meningitis and septicaemia, with some heart-wrenching stories. Ringing to tell people they hadn’t been selected was more difficult than I expected, as you could hear the obvious disappointment in their voices. On a brighter note, telling our chosen few that we would love to have them run for us was like making Christmas come early. All were happy, a lot were surprised, and everyone was determined to make the most of the opportunity.
I’ve got a nice little running route of 3 miles, and the thought of doing an extra 23 on top of that makes my knees shake! I’m not ruling out a marathon for the future; never say never, but it would certainly take a lot of mental and physical preparation to get me marathon-ready. To say I have admiration for our runners is an understatement, particularly after such an icy winter. I struggled to drag myself out of bed on the freezing weekends, but our runners skated their way around their usual routes, with people in the worst-hit areas having to go to their local gyms and jump on a treadmill.
With the ice plaguing our roads and paths I expected there to be a few injuries. As I feared, two of our runners unfortunately had to drop out, but did so in time for us to find two fantastic replacements. Our newcomers to the team have taken on the challenge of training for the marathon in just three months and pledging to hit our minimum sponsorship target of £1,500 with enthusiasm and determination.
We’ve got a real mix of runners this year with some already running 22 mile routes, and some still working their way up steadily with our training guide. Some have supported MRF for years, whilst others appreciate the opportunity to offer their support now. All have been touched by meningitis and realise the importance of knowing and raising awareness of the symptoms, as well as raising sponsorship to support the Foundation’s work.
We’ve been really fortunate this year with some of our applicants getting an independent place in the public ballot, expanding our running team. We’d love to hear how your training is going, so post your progress below!