It must be a bit like deciding to have a second baby… All those difficult symptoms of pregnancy, the sleepless nights, physical discomfort, nausea and then the long, slow, gruelling push to the natural conclusion. You have to forget all about those hard, painful moments before you think:
“Yes, let’s have another! Why not??”
Well, I’m not exactly equipped for childbirth. I’ll be the first to admit it – my hips just ain’t set up for it. Of my limited physical abilities, however, I do know I can just about get one foot in front of the other… and with that in mind, I’m getting back into training and running another marathon.
Yes, this time it’s the big one – the one and only London Marathon. Known throughout the world and frequented yearly by a dazzling array of celebrities and professional athletes, the London Marathon is currently Earth’s largest marathon event with a staggering 36,648 finishers last year. The route takes in some of the city’s best known landmarks, including Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.
There’ll be a whole menagerie of whacky costumes, a huge mix of age, background, ability and circumstance. All of us out there on London’s streets, shoulder to shoulder, as we slog inexorably onward to the finish line and that unbelievable satisfaction of a challenge conquered (and that unbelievably delicious first pint in the pub afterwards, of course!).
I can’t wait to see how it compares to my first marathon along the East shore of Loch Ness last year. Quietly jogging through woods, hillside paths and along the banks of the Loch itself with a fresh Scottish breeze at my back is going to feel like a gentle, warm, relaxed day in comparison with the sheer scale and atmosphere of London. I have to confess, I’m already feeling nervous…
“When I’ve thought of [Oxfam] before it’s conjured up a musty mental picture of dusty charity shops full of cardigans, beige trousers and old Dusty Springfield LPs”
Before I get too worked up, though, I really have to give a big shout out and thank you to Oxfam UK for accepting me onto their fundraising team for the event. Competition is fierce and there aren’t enough places for all the applicants to take part so: thank you so much for saying yes!
Now, Oxfam really do a lot of wonderful work worldwide. Like many others, when I’ve thought of them before it’s conjured up a musty mental picture of dusty charity shops full of cardigans, beige trousers and old Dusty Springfield LPs in battered paper cases but the real impact the charity has on people globally is profound.
They work to bring clean water to communities, to help set up sustainable farming so families can eat. They tackle social issues like education, sexual equality, citizens rights and they respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises the world over. They’re complete heroes and they’re truly improving the quality of people’s lives.
So I’m proud to be striving towards my fundraising target of £2,000. Like the run itself, it will take time and perseverance to get there but it’s all effort well spent. Thanks so much to everyone who’s already wished me well and chipped in to help with the fund raising – I genuinely couldn’t do it without you!
Sean Handley, Melbourne Development Team.
Stay tuned for more posts from Sean with fundraising updates, training diary and tips for marathon running. You can also follow his progress on Twitter via @run_sean.