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London Marathon

April 23, 2024

If you’ve been paying attention to our ‘socials’ then you’ll know that I, along with about 53,000 other people completed the London Marathon on Sunday. Luckily my run was extra special and worthy of more attention, unlike the 10s of thousands who beat me, who together with the few behind me raised a staggering £67,000,000 in aid of good causes.

My own tiny contribution was just over £2,200 for the benefit of the Saffron Walden Almshouses, and I’m proud to have been able to support them, and would like to thank every single person who felt able to support me in supporting the Almshouses.

I ran a mighty 5:42:43 – beaten by only 46,639 other people – a testament to my superior training and preparation.

Joking aside, in my previous article about the marathon I did highlight the value of the 5 Ps (proper preparation prevents poor performance), and also admitted that my marathon preparation was rather less than ideal. I could share the discomfort at around 12 miles, when I was genuinely unsure whether my legs would allow me to complete the event – with the furthest I’d run in the previous 5 years being a comparatively tiny 5 miles or so – and little enough of that. 

Or I could tell you about how it felt coming across Tower Bridge, only a mile or so further than my near quitting damascene moment, when at around the half way point, north of the river, and moving into the iconic city, before turning right and jogging into Docklands, I realised that no matter how it felt – I pretty much had to finish. The only question was whether I’d be done before the course shut.

But ultimately those are my petty little moments of victory or near defeat, and I’d rather tell you about the humbling moments when Barney the Dinosaur jogged past, or Sesame Street’s Big Bird (both excellent full body suits) made me look slow. Or when an 8 foot ‘child’ costume not only jogged past, but stopped, had a dance to the band playing at the side of the road, before sprinting to catch up with their colleagues again. At the 21 mile point.

The London Marathon is an amazing event, and I am truly proud to have run it. I’ll be back next year (if I navigate the ballot again – if not then there will be another time), and now I know why it’s worth training, worth actually giving of my best, and achieving something special. Over 50,000 people ran it this year, I have no idea how many others support the process and it is a truly stupendous thing to have been part of.

So, how does this relate to financial planning? It doesn’t really. I mean the logistics of organising it must be monstrous, and perhaps there’s an analogy there about having and executing a plan – but honestly, I’m just a little bit awestruck, and comparing what I do to that incredible event seems a bit churlish. So, build your own analogies this time if you wish.

I’ll put the JustGiving link at the bottom once more – the Almshouses are a great cause doing good work providing low-cost, high-quality accommodation to dozens who might otherwise struggle to find housing.

But really this one is just to convey the numinous feeling of awe of running down a road, with huge crowds on both sides roaring at you, encouraging you on, raising you up, carrying you forward, making you feel truly special, before eventually looking over your shoulder to see you’re being overtaken. By a man in a wheelchair. With a full rhinoceros suit mounted on top of their chair. 

I knew the crowd weren’t cheering for me, but honestly just the reflected glory from the crowd celebrating Martin’s achievement (his name was on this side) made me cry a bit, and helped me keep running for another kilometre before having to walk once more. Thank you, Martin, for being amazing. There were some remarkable athletes running on Sunday, and many of them weren’t up at the front, they were in amongst us mere mortals, and I take my hat off to every single one of them.

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