Hooky's MD on Running the London Marathon
The Virgin Money London Marathon 2014
It has certainly been a journey. On January 13th, I received an e-mail informing me I had a place to run the London Marathon, for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. Many of you will know that this has been the key charity that the Brewery and the wider Hook Norton community have supported for 30 years. My late sister Victoria was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 1984, at the tender age of 10. Initial treatment was encouraging, and Victoria soon decided to undertake some fundraising for what was then the Leukaemia Research Fund. It started with a coffee afternoon, and gained momentum from there. All sorts of events have been held since, from beer festivals to sporting dinners, and the Hooky pint running the London Marathon a couple of years ago.
For me, gaining a place was meant to be, as Victoria would have celebrated her 40th birthday this year, so this was a way I could honour that. I was already running to half marathon distance, so just had to double the mileage…. It seems a long time since I had to wear tights, gloves and a woolly hat; but it was fun, it was hard, but it was worth it.
The day approached and on Wednesday 9th April, I was off to London to register. The whole thing became quite emotional, as I had my running vest printed with my name on the front, and For Victoria on the back. And so the weekend came, and we set off Saturday lunchtime, staying with friends overnight so I was ready for the big day. Sunday at 6am I tucked into baked beans, rye bread, glucosamine and cod liver oil. Then a lift to Waterloo East, and on to the train. What struck me immediately was the impeccable organisation, and the friendly nature of all the marshals, railway staff, police, etc., as well of course as the runners. I don’t think I have experienced such a well organised event anywhere ever.
I reached my start zone with plenty of time to spare, time for a coffee, a stretch, and to chat to other runners. Before we knew it, we were being called into the start funnel, and as we watched Mo and the champion athletes on the big screen cross the line, so we moved towards our line, which I crossed at 10.03am. It wasn’t too crowded, and I was soon able to settle into a comfortable 9 minute mile pace. This was maintained for the first 19 miles; highlights of which were seeing the first big crowds, and crossing Tower Bridge at around the halfway stage. At mile 19 I hit a bit of a wall, with my legs just feeling so heavy. But on we pushed, at a slower pace, until we were alongside the river and I knew we only had two miles to go. As we passed Westminster, with my personal cheering team of Jo and Tom whipping up the crowd, I found the last bit of energy; the 600 yards to go sign came into sight; then the 400 yards to go, I never imagined 200 yards could feel so long. And then across the line, what a feeling. Tag off, goody bag with drinks and an apple; I so wanted to eat the apple, but just biting into it seemed to demand a herculean effort. But it didn’t matter; 4 hours and 14 minutes after crossing the start, I had done it. I had run further than I have ever run in my life, and raised over £4,500 in the process.
My elation deserves to be shared by everyone who supported me, and so many people have helped me on the way. Thank you to everyone, it was a journey, and we travelled it together, and we travelled it well. Would I do it again? Try stopping me!
We were all very sorry to hear of the tragic death of Robert Berry following the marathon, and our thoughts and condolences are with deceased’s family.