This is the first time I have written for the Herald since completing the London Marathon, so I just wanted to write to say an enormous thank you to the many people who supported me. In the end I raised over £35,000 for the new Royal Surrey Cancer and Surgical Innovation Centre which I was absolutely thrilled with.
My legs have recovered but it was exhausting! Although we were blessed with showers (great for runners, less so for their supporters) I found the final eight miles back from Canary Wharf to the Mall quite an exertion. But what keeps you going are the remarkable crowds clapping and cheering – alongside singers, choirs and bands who keep the atmosphere upbeat and stop you thinking too much about the pain in your feet. And of course, it was lovely to have Lucia and my three kids cheering me on at various points on the route.
What made the day particularly moving for me to be supported from the sidelines by my brother Charlie who himself is bravely battling a sarcoma. I ran with my sister, his wife and a group of his friends who were all raising money for a wonderful charity called Sarcoma UK which does research into this relatively rare and little understood – but highly aggressive – cancer. Together Charlie’s friends raised over £100,000 for the charity.
You realise when running the London Marathon that there are thousands of similar stories with massive numbers of charities – large and small – raising money. Lots of runners take part in memory of loved ones and the incredible support for voluntary organisations feels like Britain at its best. Runners from all over the world say the London Marathon is one of the very best ones for atmosphere – and I can see why.
This is my second marathon – the first was in October when my brother twisted my arm to do it. I do find running quite addictive. For some reason it clears your mind and is great for mental health (if less so for your limbs). Will I do another? That is something I will take a few weeks to decide…