We did it! After 8 months build up, 10 of us completed the London marathon on Sunday 23rd April 2017.
This marathon was always something that I wanted to do one day and I had said this on many occasions, regrettably when people were actually listening so when the 10 places became available, I had no choice but to sheepishly take the plunge.
The training through the winter was gruelling but as I clocked up the miles and my runs became longer and longer my confidence started to grow.
The big day started with an early start down at blackheath. As we were running for Heads Together, the charity founded by Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, we were lucky enough to be invited to the Heads Together hospitality tent before the race. Sadly, as the tent wasn’t easy to find and security was tight, only myself and Paul Croston made it there but we represented the Leeds Mind team well when we met Princes William, Harry and the stunning Kate in the flesh. We shook their hands and Paul invited Kate to our own Clarence House for a cuppa should she find herself in Leeds; all the while I smiled from ear to ear like a star struck goon. Kate and William both told me it was a pleasure to meet me!
From the tent we were then fed into the start of the race; I knew this was happening but I became a little disorientated as, in the blink of an eye I was across the start line, surrounded by 40,000 others runners….I was doing it, I was running the London Marathon! As I covered the miles it became apparent to me just how amazing people are, the crowd in particular, every body was calling my name (it was on my running vest) cheering me on and shouting encouragement, it was hard not to become emotional by it all., I saw friends and family along the route which was such a wonderful feeling especially when I hit the wall of pain at mile 17, everything hurt, I was sick of running and I wanted to give up but a cheer from my family gave me the determination I needed. By mile 19, I’d found my mojo again and was loving it, I remember hearing a band playing the proclaimers 500 miles and I felt amazing, all I had to do now was keep going to the finish line. “You’ve got this, Bailey” I told myself and I had, I crossed that wonderful end point at the end of the mall in 5 hours and 51 minutes and got my medal. We all finished and did brilliantly especially Lisa J, whose injured knee went half way and she completed some of the rest of the race on crutches! Wow!
Well done everyone, I am so proud of us all, we achieved something truly spectacular while raising money for our brilliant cause. I couldn’t walk afterwards but I would do it again in a heartbeat! Best experience ever!