Blog post by Garreth McCrudden
I have to admit, I was one of those people who watched the marathon every year from the age of 12 and said, time and time again: “I’ll do that someday”. Then, while on holiday in Guatemala this past summer, a friend of mine dropped into conversation that she had entered the 2014 ballot. Always the procrastinator, I desperately racked my brain to think of a reason why I couldn’t do it, but I finally realised that there was nothing standing in my way – this was the year for me.
My reasons for wanting to run the marathon were twofold: firstly, to prove that I was physically up for the challenge and, secondly, to raise funds and awareness for a cause that is close to my heart. Bliss, the special-care baby charity, stood out a mile from the thousands of other organisations vying for eager runners’ attentions. I myself was born seven weeks prematurely, and I needed emergency medical treatment to tend to my lungs, which were too underdeveloped to cope with independent breathing.
Thus, my family knows first-hand just how difficult and uncertain the days and weeks following a premature birth can be. Thanks to an amazing medical team, with the necessary resources and expertise, I was able to make a quick recovery and lead a healthy life. I am therefore aiming to raise funds for Bliss in the hope that other premature babies, and their families, receive the top-quality care they need to give them the fighting chance they all deserve.
I think anyone who’s ever trained for a marathon will agree on at least one point: it’s anything but easy. You have to run ridiculous distances, in all sorts of weather, when you’d really rather be doing just about anything else. You’ll have to miss out on a night out with your mates because a 7am alarm really isn’t that far away. And, somewhere along the way, you’ll realise with disbelief that you’ve begun to think of 15 miles on a Sunday morning as ‘a short run’. I think it’s also pretty much inevitable not to suffer some kind of setback during your training, especially if you are running your first marathon. As someone who had never run more than eight miles in any one go, my body just wasn’t used to the kind of endurance a marathon demands. I suffered from shin-splints in the first half of my training and, when I cranked the mileage up after Christmas, I became reacquainted with an old knee injury from years ago. Still, I’ve battled through, and with 300 training miles under my belt, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for the world’s most famous stretch of 26 miles and 385 yards.
The nerves have long since started to kick in. Indeed, never has the question: “What are you doing this weekend?” seemed so ominous! I am confident that, with a bit of luck and the encouragement of well-wishers, I’ll be able to make it round the course in a time I’m happy with. What’s most important, though, is that, along with almost 100 other runners, I will be proudly representing Bliss in the hope that people sit and up and listen to the plight of babies born too soon, too small or too sick.