Running the London Marathon has always been something that I’ve wanted to do once in my life and seeing the runners last year really made me consider it seriously. I spent most of last summer thinking about running this year’s marathon but I finally committed myself to it last September – just as the nights were drawing in and the temperature started to drop! Not the best time of year to be training.
When I wrote about my motivation to take on the marathon in January I said how apprehensive I was about the training I still needed to do in the coming weeks. Thankfully, it’s all been going really well and I’m trying to enjoy these final few weeks in the spring conditions. The surprisingly sunny weather during February helped me to step up the miles and has significantly improved my chances of completing the marathon without doing myself any permanent damage.
When I first told people that I was thinking of doing the marathon I was surprised at how few people doubted my ability to train for such a long run. Looking back, I’m sorry to say that I was one of the few who did. However, I have amazed myself with my commitment and last weekend I ran a new personal best of 17 miles.
I would be lying, however, if I didn’t say that the runs are starting to take their toll, but that’s no surprise. I’ve ended up spending a small fortune in the chemists on massage oil, talc, plasters and energy gels. I have also learnt the importance and impact of drinking plenty of water, eating the right food, stretching, resting and recovering. I’m beginning to treat myself as if I’m a racehorse or a greyhound!
I’m sure it will all be worth it in the end.
At the times when the training, or rather the recovery, has been tough, the words of encouragement and gestures of good will from such a huge number of people have made all the difference. Everybody I know seems to share my enthusiasm for one of, if not, the craziest things I’ve ever embarked upon. It’s going to leave a big gap in my life when it’s over and I’m going to particularly miss JustGiving sending me regular messages entitled ‘Someone has made a donation to your page’, those messages always give me a big lift.
The main motivating factor to take up such an enormous challenge has been witnessing the great work of all the staff and volunteers in my role at JRS. The opportunity to raise money to support this work was one that I could not let pass me by. Each day our team continues to work tirelessly for refugees despite the ever-increasing challenges thrown up by our hostile and isolating world. Our team can now offer more practical assistance to those we accompany, human beings who find themselves either destitute or detained under immigration rules. Here at our centre in Wapping we continue to provide a sanctuary where destitute asylum seekers are made to feel welcome, cared for and valued.
I’m happy to say that the fundraising has been going extremely well, I’ll soon push through my £2k target and hopefully get to £2.5k plus by the time the race is done. A highlight was definitely the quiz night I organised at JRS one Friday evening in March for staff, volunteers and friends. We managed to raise £250 and the night was a lot of fun. Many people helped make it a special evening and I’ll be forever grateful to them, we had about 40 players and I think they all really enjoyed it.
Most importantly many of our refugee friends at JRS know I’m running the marathon and it’s their generous thoughts and prayers which I will be repeating in my mind during the 5 or so hours I’m pounding the streets of London later this month.
Aidan is running the London Marathon on Sunday 28th April to raise money for JRS UK. This money will help JRS to continue to accompany destitute and detained refugees in a spirit of hospitality, welcome and love.