I signed up for the run months ago and have been training, quietly and in the slow plodding gait befitting of someone of my age, sex and stature (ie just above normal walking pace)
On a Sunday morning I was up at sparrows, heading off to Kings Cross to meet up with a couple of friends and then out to the wide open countryside that is Cambridge. One of my friends ran the Tokyo marathon last weekend, this will be her 97th marathon – between now and 13th April she will run another two – the London marathon will be her 100th! The other girl in the group has another 11 to go too reach the magic 100 … and me. I gaze out of the window and get excited as we whiz past some allotments. “That’s where I should be today” I think as I watch my two stick thin friends feasting on bagels and rice pudding.
“Lets walk to the start – I need to stretch my legs” says one. We pass the waiting cabs and trek for 20 minutes to the start of the race. I can’t help but notice lot’s of very lean athletic younger people stretching and jumping up on down on the spot, and a long queue to the portaloos.
Remind me why I am here again?
The race starts slowly – I spot some unlikely looking chaps just in front of me, long grey ponytails, middle aged paunches and I wheddle my way to just behind them. After a mile or so I realise they are cracking on at a pace that I am unable to keep up with – that’s when I notice the bulging calf muscles and the unmistakeable blue running vest with lime green lettering – the 100 marathon club. I fall back.
Mile after mile of undulating countryside flash past … Cambridge is flat but the Cambridge bounds are rolling. Runners pass me and sometimes I pass a straggly walker trudging forward as each mile marker slips slowly by. I look at my watch – congratulate myself that I am doing record time but am still so far behind everyone else! Finally we cross the last muddy field … the end tantalisingly just around the next bend … my son and a friend of his are there at the finish line – from somewhere I hear the theme tune to Chariots of Fire and imagine I am sprinting in. Thank goodness I had the sense to only sign up for the half marathon today!
On the bright side – I think this puts me in the lead in the company Every Step Counts this week.