I thought I would stop banging on this week and give my husband a chance to blog about his recent marathon experience. I have suppressed my inner control freak and these are his words, unedited (alright, maybe a teeny tiny few) about running 26.2 miles for our daughter Marigold and the charity Unique at the 2016 London marathon.
Last Sunday, alongside 39,000 other runners, I lined up in Greenwich at 10am to start the long 26.2 miles to Birdcage Walk, finishing outside Buckingham Palace.
In many ways the day of the marathon itself is a little bit like crossing the finish line. What precedes it is several months of training (running, running, more running – you get the picture) accompanied with early starts, giving up your weekend mornings, and a LOT OF COMPLAINING. It’s not all bad however as you do get to eat carbs all the time without any sense of guilt, and the sense of holding the moral high ground is grating for others but great for you!
What is really important in the midst of the training plan is to keep a perspective on the reasons for deciding to do the marathon. During the last 4 or 5 months whilst I have been out running, Marigold, who has 3q11 trisomy mosaicism, has been making leaps and bounds in her physical development. Not literally of course, but she has progressed from being static to crawling, from crawling to cruising and now to being able to pull herself up on the sofa into a standing position. So whilst I have been doing what comes naturally to me, Marigold has been learning all the time. The effort that she has made has been far greater than mine and she has done this without a word of complaint and with her beautiful smile on her face!
But Marigold would have made the same progress irrespective of my efforts. The real reason for running the marathon is to help and support Unique (www.rarechromo.org), the charity that does so much to help and support families and people who have to contend with the impact of rare chromosome disorders.
Unique is a very small charity. When you run the marathon you are surrounded by hordes of runners from some of the larger charities and it makes you realise how important it is to fund the small charities because the work they do is just as vital. We were very lucky to be able to raise some profile for Unique as well, as both the BBC and the Evening Standard picked up on Marigolds story. The BBC featured her as one of their runner’s stories, and the Evening Standard had a picture of us alongside some of the celebs running this year. Fame at last!
So on the day itself, knowing that the amazing contributions from family, friends, work colleagues, members of the Unique community and some strangers will help Unique carry on its incredible work was real motivation. Hearing bystanders shout ‘come on Marigold’s Daddy!’ as I ran past was brilliant. Finishing the race was a mixture of relief and the ultimate smugness, but seeing my little girl (tired and a bit grumpy) along with Helen and Harrison at mile 24 was the real pinnacle of the whole experience.
Finally I want to say a massive Thank You to Helen* for putting up with me during the training, Unique for giving me one of their marathon places, and to everyone who made the generous donations that will directly contribute towards helping new and existing members of the Unique community.
*I did not make him write that
** Well done amazing husband!