WOW! Last night I was lucky enough to win a place at the Virgin London Marathon. This was my 5th year of trying via the ballot and five times I have been unlucky. However I belong to a running club, Petts Wood Runners, and we receive 3 allocated places via UK Athletics. Last night was the club draw. I didn’t enter the club draw last year as I had decided to enter Brighton Marathon. You can read more about My Day at the Seaside in my other blog.
When my name was pulled out of the hat last night, I was confused, and at first I clapped and cheered. Then I thought – hang on a minute, that was MY name. My friend sat next to me said “I’ve never seen anyone look so worried to have won”. However I am very excited and pleased.
But why run a marathon? It’s hard work; it hurts; the training is time-consuming; I’m not going to win. Lots of reasons to not run a marathon. So why am I doing this? Like many of us, I have watched the London Marathon on TV for many years. Every time I am inspired and humbled. The elite runners are amazing to watch but it is the non-elite athletes who especially inspire me. I want to take part in such an amazing event. I want to enjoy the crowds, the sense of achievement, the honour of running a marathon in one of the best cities in the world.
As I drove home from the club draw, I got to thinking about my heroes – people like Paula Radcliffe, Laurent Jalabert, Martin Luther King, and Sue Saxey. People I admire and who have inspired me. Everybody knows Paula Radcliffe and Martin Luther King. You might not have heard of Laurent Jalabert – but you may have seen his spectacular crash in a sprint finish in the Tour de France in 1994. I had my own cycling accident just a few days later with similar facial and head injuries. I started to follow his progress as he recovered from that horrific accident, and became one of his biggest fans.
As for Sue Saxey, well she has been an inspiration for me since 2006 when she stood on stage at NCT’s Annual Conference. NCT is the UK’s largest charity for parents. Sue talked about being a volunteer, how she got involved and how to recruit new volunteers. I was local branch chair at the time and she made everything seem so easy and do-able. In May 2010, Sue was elected President of NCT to loud and rapturous applause at the Annual Conference that year. For Sue, volunteers have always been at the heart of NCT and she was a very popular choice for president.
So tell me, who is your inspiration and why?