Good morning everyone.
Hope you are all well,looks like this week is gonna be a scorcher for weather so make sure you enjoy it but also make sure you keep hydrated through those runs and walks of yours!
Yesterday was the British 10k Help for Heroes run through the streets of old London town.This was a race that i knew was going to test my emotions more than anything else! a race i had to do,i cant portray through words over a computer screen how much respect i have for our armed forces past and present,what they do and what they did day in day out to help keep us safe makes me feel very humble.this was a chance for me to pay my respects to them all.
Got to the baggage drop off point at 8am,this was the exact time it opened and i was greeted with Abide with Me and Jerusalem blasting through the music speakers, my bottom lip was quivering just handing over my bag to the lovely gentleman!i hoped i could keep my composure as i knew it would get so much more emotional before the start!
Walked to the start and we were held there for 35 minutes or so,yve had text me to say she was at the start also but she was in the Help For Heroes team and quite righty they were taken to the start line first.Whilst waiting we had marching bands go up and down past us,soldiers in armed vehicles pass us but the bit that made me burst with pride was a parade. it was a parade marking the 100 years since world war one up to the present day,soldiers in old uniforms went past on horses,loads of them,heads held high,chests puffed out,the applause they got from the crowd was incredible,the tears running down my cheeks were real,i could taste them(ive tears running down my cheeks now writing this) i didnt care who saw me,i held my head up high as they past me,i applauded as loud as ive ever applauded anything in my life.
Not long after that the race started,but first we sang the whole national anthem first( 3mins 30 secs) and now my heart was pumping through my chest,i could feel it! at that moment i could have lifted up king kong and thrown him into the thames i felt that strong and proud of being british! The Help for Heroes team went off first(around 2300 of them i think) and i crossed the start line around 7 minutes after the off.Im so thankful that the first 3-4k was very crowded and congested as the pumped up mood i was in i thought i could win the whole race lol!
The crowds were wonderful and plentiful,everywhere you looked you saw support,you saw help for heroes tops,cancer tops,dementia tops,children with cancer tops,all different charities that were being run for by these wondeful people.I was running well,i felt pretty smooth,i was passing lots of people,there were no straight lines to run in due to congestion so i was weaving side to side trying to find small gaps(not easy when your 17 stone 4lbs) to squeeze through! we ran down towards Trafalgar sq and the golden jubilee bridge,everywhere i looked a saw history! i ploughed on,i knew yve was somewhere on the course in front of me and id calculated i had a chance to catch her before the end,i was looking out for her every minute but there were so many people running!
I saw the 5k halfway point,this was the first time i looked at my stopwatch on my phone,i was hoping to run the first 5k between 26-27 minutes,i passed through in 26 mins 29 seconds, bang on i thought to myself and i felt strong,the congestion had eased by now,still no clear running but people were starting to fall back.i was now in the second half of the race! we turned back up the embankment up towards Big Ben,we went under a long tunnel(i think its the same tunnel as the london marathon,the one with all the insprational messages in it) lots of people walking by now and i was geeing then up trying to get them moving,99% of them responded. we were now running up the embankment,i remembered this from london marathon 2013,memories came flooding back,the crowds were not to different from that day,cheers rang out,it was raining but everyone was full of sunshine! my legs were now beginning to tire,that embankment is a long road lol! you can see Big ben but it takes an age to reach it!
Running up towards Big Ben i saw a huge gentleman running in front of me,not huge in weight but huge in stature,he radiated greatness,i could sense it,he had Help For Heroes emblazend on his back and he also had a prosthetic leg from his hip down,he was running on a blade,i had to catch him to tell him something but boy he was fast! i gradually got up to him and tapped him on the shoulder,he turned to me (he looked like a god to me) and i just said the words 'Thank You' and i held my hand out,he shook it and ill never forget those 2 seconds i held a true true heroes hand in mine. that spurred me on,my legs felt less tired,my breathing got a tad better,my body ached a little less.
I eventually got to Big ben and they turned us left over Westminster bridge,we ran along it then rounded a big red london bus and ran back up it past the houses of parliament! lovely touch. we were now on 8k and i was thankful we only had 2k to go! my hips were fine but my dodgy right calf had flared up again.i kept an eye on it and stretched it out. i pushed on,they took us around Parliament square and up towards Whitehall,i had seen the 9k marker and this was the point i decided to go for broke! the calf was pretty bad by now but as i turned left i could see both the finish line and the Cenitaph.i saw a young lad walking,slumped shoulders,head down, i told him to run with me,i told him to look at the finish line he was so close,he done as he was told and we ran for 200m together and then he sprinted off towards the finish! my finish was almost kenyan like!(for me anyway) i passed the Cenitaph and closed my eyes and looked skywards,i so hoped the soldiers that had passed were looking down seeing us all run for them. i sprinted the last 200m as fast as my legs would take me and i crossed the finish line in 54 mins 37 seconds! yipiee!! i wanted a sub 55 min and through sheer pride,grit and stubborness not to listen to my body i had done it! i was so so proud of myself. i had to rest against the barriers at the end,my head was spinning around,i was asked to walk on but for a few minutes i couldnt,i soon regained composure and off i went!
So that was that! A day i will never ever forget,a day that made me proud to be british,a day that showed me that 95% of this great country truly is great,yes we have our problems but i truly truly belive that british people are special.we have inner desire,a strength in adversity that only really comes out when we are in adversity. i saw human beings yesterday that didnt have the right to be able to walk but still they were running,they didnt quit when their legs and arms got blown off,they didnt mope about when the going got very tough,they just got tougher.
I left most of my lungs on that course yesterday but i also left most of my heart.
Thank you London and thank you all our armed forces past and present.
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