Posted by: Leonie Brown29/03/2010
I’d like to apologise to my friends and family – for the emotional wreck I’m inevitably going to be on race day.
It began last weekend when Caroline and I ran our ‘official’ pre-London half marathon in Fleet. From about mile five I found myself pacing with a 70-year-old (I know this detail because someone shouted from the crowds: ‘That’s Bill, he’s 70!’). And yes, I know, keeping up with a pensioner is nothing to write home about, but this was no ordinary old man. Not only did he have a full head of (dyed) blue hair, he had speed (8.5-minute miles) and was, to put it mildly, a chatter.
‘Hello petal,’ he’d quip, as we passed a man running for Marie Curie wearing the cancer care charity’s sunflower emblem on his head. ‘Ooo, look, a buzzard,’ as a large bird of prey hovered above us. And ‘thanks marshal’ to each and every volunteer who lined the route. ‘Keep going old chap, like the hair,’ they’d reply – he was clearly well-known around these Hampshire parts.
I’m happy to report that I managed to lose Bill on a particularly long stretch of uphill around mile nine, but the inspiring efforts of this super-fit, super-friendly 70-year-old were the first of several things to bring a lump to the throat this week.
Another was the arrival in the post of my official race number – 39,820, if you’re interested – and swathes of information about what to expect on race day. I can’t get enough of these details and sup them up greedily. Reading about the finish procedure on the tube to work I rather embarrassingly welled up imagining my exhausted but hopefully proud self being reunited with my nearest and dearest after 26 miles.
With four weeks to go a friend’s 30th birthday this weekend marked my last alcoholic drink until 25 April. And Easter has the longest training run – 21 miles – in store, followed by a three-week wind down. It’s all becoming quite real, but if I can’t hold it together now, just thinking about marathon day, the race itself is likely to be a tear-fest. The friends and relatives would be wise to pack the tissues.
Leonie’s run rate
Miles since 1 Jan: 297
Minutes taken off Great North Run half marathon time in Fleet last weekend: 11 – not too shabby, that.
Caroline’s run rate
Miles since 1 Jan: 318
Number of Princesses spotted on long run: one (Beatrice, or possibly the other one, chained to seven others in preparation for her marathon debut as a ‘caterpillar’)
Number of cycling bodyguards in tow: two (why?)
Click here to sponsor Caroline and Leonie’s run in aid of HACT, the Housing Action Trust
From Home run
Tracking the progress of Inside Housing staff and others running the London Marathon for the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust