On Sunday, under the most beautifully Spring-like baby blue skies I’ve seen without dreaming them, me and a team from Empire magazine ran the Marrowthon 10k for Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer and bone marrow registry charity. £1380 raised so far, HOLLER!
I left Empire in 2006, but help out* at the Awards, and it doesn’t take much for me to do a race with Helen and Olly “Is there a medal?” Richards. I named our team: the frankly horrifying The Running Mag. I am so sorry. (I am not at all sorry).
*drink their booze
My old boss’s wife, Lila, works at Anthony Nolan, and sent me this fantastic video about a little boy called Lucas whose mum ran this year’s Marrowthon. When he was a baby, Lucas received bone marrow from an Anthony Nolan donor. On Sunday, he came to the race on a scooter, in his pants. LIKE A BOSS.
There were so many people in fancy dress, and in teams, and I didn’t twig until later that a lot of people running either had had transplants themselves, or family who had been helped by Anthony Nolan. That is bloody incredible. You may get quite weepy watching the video. Not that I did or anything, shut up.
To the race!
1.) Again, what a bloody gorgeous day.
2.) In nearly 10 years, (Helen and Olly not withstanding) I have never seen Empire magazine staff look as sportily competent as they did this day.
3.) Let’s have a big hand for water everybody!
4.) It was absolutely lovely seeing so many people dressed up. Pictures to follow.
I had a 16-mile long run planned for Sunday, so rather than do that and the 10k, and then probably pass out in tears or give up, I split up the run so that I ran five miles to the race, did the race and then ran home.
It was such a good day to run there. The sun! The blue sky! The fact I didn’t have flu for the first time all week! Thanks to the tokens Audible gave me, I listened to Hadley Freeman’s Be Awesome: Modern Life For Modern Ladies on the way up. Sign of a good running book: I paid attention to the whole thing, rather than drifting off and fretting about being bored.
We all got to the race preposterously early, by which time I discovered that despite packing everything I could remember I needed to pack, I’d forgotten plasters, and my foot was extremely angry. St John’s Ambulance gave me a little plaster. Super.
The run was lovely; a sunny trail through routes I remembered from the London Zoo 10k, with the added joy that we passed the dromedary enclosure at the Zoo. I waved, obviously.
The only problems were that my plaster slid off 2k in, it was hot and I really needed water. I kept looking out for it on the way round, but all I could see was other people’s water, and it would probably be strongly frowned upon to steal it from children, or their irate parents. We got a bottle after the first lap – thank God! Unfortunately I kept splashing water all over my iPhone which I was carrying in the other hand. I should probably get a case.
It felt very weird to run a race on legs that were more stale than fresh, and particularly weird to not be doing a very good effort. I knew I should concentrate on the fact it was the middle part of a longer run, but there are many things that I should do, and I very rarely do them. Everything settled down after the rest of the team had sailed past me, and I eventually stopped fretting about times and more on running and getting round the laps and taking pictures of the daffodils.
And then at 5k, jogging down the promenade, I saw a familiar shape wearing a familiar blazer and jeans – my boyfriend had come to surprise me. Someone give that man a raise! I’d like to say that spurred me on to a magnificently-sprinted second lap, but it didn’t, and I flapped to the finish feeling as though I were going to burst into tears.
I tend to get totes emosh after finishing a race, and my voice did indeed go full teenage boy. Luckily, I was so sweaty – I am such an attractive runner – that any extra liquid on my face could be disguised as my usual post-run sweaterfall.
After getting my goodie bag and medal, I spent the next hour on a bench, with my shoes and socks off, carefully covering a new and even bigger blister with new and even bigger plasters and counting Regents Park’s ridiculous Boston Terrier population. All under those beautiful blue skies.
Anthony Nolan are the official charity of this year’s London Marathon, and if the urge takes you, you can volunteer to help them on the day. You have to be 16-30 to register as a stem cell donor, and after a prod from Twitter just before my 30th, I signed up. I remember thinking that it was a bit poor to only be eligible for a couple of weeks, but it turns out that once on the register, you are there until your sixties. Boom!