What’s it like to run a marathon? We hear from Rob after finishing his 13th one!

Ever wondered what it's like to run the London Marathon? Our fantastic volunteer Rob, who volunteers for our Hiking Group and Wednesday Group, has just finished his 13th marathon with his best time yet - all whilst raising money for Henshaws. He shares with us his experience.

Photo of Rob sitting at a table, smiling“In the few days leading up to this year’s London Marathon on 24th April, I’d become increasingly nervous. Not because it was due to be my 13th marathon – I’m not superstitious – but probably because I thought I’d detected problems with my feet, my knees and with my legs whilst training. I began to imagine that they might come together in a catastrophe and lead me to drop out of the marathon.

But then came the day of the marathon. The starting gun was fired at 10 am on the Sunday and, after a 4-minute wait to cross the start line (there was a huge number of runners ahead of me!),  we were off from the bright and cold Blackheath.

3 miles in – I’m beginning to warm up and thinking ‘so far, so good’, with my doubts disappearing. By 6 miles, I was passing Cutty Sark and thinking ‘wow, nothing to fear.’ Everywhere the crowds of spectators are huge and their encouragement is obviously doing the trick. This is carefree running and I couldn’t be happier.

Just after the 12-mile mark, we run over Tower Bridge – imagine that! Absolutely brilliant – nothing can stop me now! 15 miles in we enter the Isle of Dogs with the gleaming towers of Canary Wharf to our left. Isn’t this good – a free tour of London landmarks.

Then at 17 miles, and without warning or any obvious reason, I suddenly realise this hurts. By 19 miles I feel every ache and pain. From feeling fine just half an hour before, I now feel the complete opposite. It’s almost as if my mind changed itself with no input from me! This difficult spell carries on through until the 22nd mile. Counting down the miles in my head – 6, then 5, then 4 miles to go – I’m thinking it’s too much and this was the slowest part of the whole run.

But then – at 23 miles, my mind changed again. Despite being at my most tired, I suddenly feel better, and with 3.2 miles to go – I think I can do this. I speed up a little and finish fairly strongly in stupendous surroundings on The Mall.

Photo of Rob running the London Marathon 2016. Photo of Rob crossing the finishing line of the marathon.

The mind is a funny thing! At times you have a real conflict with it – the mind definitely plays tricks on you during the run; initially warning of possible failure, then enjoying the experience before demanding a halt only to encourage a faster finish.

So that’s my 13th marathon completed! The London Marathon gave me great pleasure and entertainment, and I managed to finish in 4 hours and 20 seconds. Most importantly, the marathon has helped me to raise at least £500 for Henshaws to help their work in supporting people with visual impairments and other disabilities to go beyond expectations every day. I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate an outstanding organisation and to thank all of my generous sponsors.”

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Rob and to all our runners for their amazing achievement – we simply couldn’t keep up our work without the help of our brilliant supporters! If you’d like to support Rob, please visit his JustGiving page.

Interested in running the 2017 London Marathon? We have Henshaws places available – visit our page for more info and to book your place.

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