So, as some of you might already know, on the 27th September 2014, I completed the Full Marathon SHINE walk in aid of Cancer Research UK. I blogged a lot about it in the run up to the event, but haven’t blogged since, so I thought I would do a little bit on how I found it etc.
So, the start began at 9pm from Southwark Park in London. We were given emergency blankets, water and we went over to sign the massive SHINE lights that were glowing up the park along with everyone’s flashing wristbands. I was really prepared and had done an awful lot of training and felt like I could do it! As we walked through the park, there was a choir singing, which was an incredible view and just made the atmosphere 100% better. As we reached the main roads, people were beeping their cars, cheering us on, singing to us and young children came down from the flats around to high-five us. The atmosphere was incredible, but I had no illusions that once we ‘got going’ the city would quiet down and we would have to keep going.
The first pit stop was at St. Paul’s cathedral, about 4 miles in. I was still enjoying it and I could tell that my friend was too. We had a lot of energy and were making sure that we were keeping hydrated. So, we stopped off quickly and then kept going. We went passed The British Museum and onto Oxford Street, passed Selfridge’s (my second favourite place in London) and down to Marble Arch – pit stop two. A quick drink and we were off!
At around 13 miles, it started to get a lot quieter and there were less people stopping and talking to one another. I had mentioned to my friend that there was an area of the route where you could just hear people marching along and it freaked me out and without fail, it happened again. I think it’s just the fact that you rarely see a city like London in this way and it just doesn’t feel right. Anyway, we walked all through Hyde Park, passed Notting Hill Gate, passed the Royal Albert Hall and the V&A (my favourite place in London)! I have to say that this wasn’t my favourite part of the route though. There was a lot of looping and a lot of repetition. You would pass one end of a road to do a massive loop of that ‘block’ and end up back where you started, but the houses in Kensington and the gorgeous architecture kept me going.
At this point, we were around 20 miles in and our time was getting slower. I could tell that my friend was struggling a bit, so I was trying to keep a conversation going and keep her from thinking about the amount of distance we had left. We had a slight diversion passed the MI6 building and Battersea Power Station, which wasn’t on our map.
As we reached the Tate Britain building and crossed the bridge over to the House of Parliament, I was getting a little bit achey. The tops of my thighs were hurting each time I put my foot down and I knew that if I stopped, it would be hard to ‘get going’ again. My friend felt that same, so we decided to skip the last couple of pit stops and just keep going. The embankment was the final stretch of the route and I have to say that this was my absolute favourite part of the whole course. Not just because it was the end (haha!), and definitely not because my friend had hurt her knee and was struggling with the pain, but because the views of London were absolutely insane! It was beginning to get light and I just couldn’t believe the beauty of the city. It was stunning!
So, we reached the finish line and we did it! I am so proud of my friend for finishing as I know that she was in a lot of pain and was struggling a lot by the end of the route. She pushed herself and although she got a bit emotional, she is now able to say that she completed it for her nan and raised loads and loads of money fro Cancer Research UK, which is an amazing accomplishment. Although I had done SHINE back in 2011, I actually enjoyed it so much more this time. Possibly because I knew what I was letting myself in for, or maybe because I had been more sensible with my training and lost about half a stone to help me be a little bit lighter. I don’t know.
I am currently on £506 on my justgiving page and I am over the moon. This beat my aim by a massive £106 and it is enough money to buy 2 (yes, 2!) micro-array machines, which are the machines that detect cancerous cells in the body.
So, if you are thinking of completing a marathon or doing something sporty for charity, I would 100% recommend it. Yes, you’ll sleep the next day and you will ache for a couple of days ater that, but the feeling of raising that amount of money by myself and helping people to find a cure that has killed everyone that you’ve known to lose is amazing. A huge, massive, enormous, gigantic thank you to every single person that sponsored me, listened to me moan about doing my training and pushing me on! You are all amazing!
Peace and love, Polly May xx