On Sunday, along with 40,000 others, I ran the London marathon. It was the 4th time I’ve run it and it really is like no other marathon. Due to the warm weather, the route was absolutely rammed – support like I’ve never seen. Everyone seemed so excited to be out in the sunshine watching us all take on 26.2 and to have people cheer your name for 3 and a half hours is pretty awesome. I had a great race – it started off a bit wobbly with my legs really unsure about being asked to marathon *again* so soon, but thankfully I quickly settled into a pace and found myself loving pretty much every second. I cope pretty well in the heat, but made sure to soak myself with water every time I had a water bottle offered to me, drank more than I normally would and didn’t push too hard at any point. I grinned wildly at everyone I could, and let my ears ring from the unrelenting cheering, whistling and banging.
I proudly wore a Mind charity vest on Sunday, along with hundreds of others.
This race was for my friend Suzy, because together we discovered marathon running.
Suzy took her own life in October last year.
She was my housemate at university, and along with our friend Mazie, was why I got into marathon running in the first place. After watching Brighton in 2010, the three of us thought it might be fun to have a go at it ourselves – how hard could it be?! We were young, played netball, were students with plenty of time on our hands… That year taught us all a lot and strengthened my friendship with the two of them immensely. We’d procrastinate all day before heading out for an 3 miles around The Level on a Monday evening, do our long runs every Sunday together, chatting and then collapsing in the lounge, basking in our achievements as we ran further and further every week. We compared notes on kit, learnt what to eat and that running after a night at Oceana is easier said than done. When we ran the marathon, Suzy did – of course – the most amazing job, flying it at under 4 hours. I, as you may know, passed out at 21 miles, and did not do an amazing job.
Whilst I just ran,ran and ran some more, Suze never did any more marathons, although said she always wanted to. She’d get in touch to say good luck before any big race and tell me how awesome my new time was – she knew how much times mattered to me.
This marathon was for her partly because she would have loved to have run London so much. She loved her city: she’d have seen so many friends on the course, grinned and waved at all of them, whilst keeping her head in the game and smashing the goal she set for herself. Because that’s the kind of person that she was – focused but an unfailingly a brilliant friend, she always had time to give you a smile.
Losing a gem of a pal like Suzy B was so heart-breaking. She was a brilliant person: she made the lives of those around her better. I hope that by raising a small amount of money for Mind, I can help to make someone else’s life a bit better in her honour.
I often chat to her when I’m running, especially when I’m running fast, or finding it a tough run – I ask her to shout at me a bit and lead the way. She was, of course, cheering me on in the marathon. Louder than anyone. I’m sorry if you’ve lost a gem too, but chatting to them helps, you know.
If you’re struggling with training, or on a run – be like my friend Suze. Smile, find your focus, get the job done and then celebrate hugely afterwards.
So thank you, London, for putting on a great show – Suze, you would have loved it (and would have got a great tan too!).
Well done if you too ran on Sunday – your why would be proud of you, too.
- Mind is a charity that does fantastic work to support those with mental illness, as well as looking after the loved ones of those who have lost their fight against it. One in four of us in the UK will struggle with our mental health each year, and this is why charities like Mind are so important.