I really can’t wait. By this time tomorrow I’ll be running round Lake Windermere in what will no doubt be the toughest race of my life. The Brathay Windermere Marathon is a hard course. There’s more than 600 feet of elevation gain during the race and it’s going to be hot, very hot (at least for me). Recently, I’ve developed an enjoyment of hill running and love nothing more than to (at least attempt to) sprint up them. I’ve even tackled Great Hill at White Coppice a couple of times with Louise and a friend of ours. It’s 640 feet of elevation in two miles of distance. It’s sheer elevation, but also sheer exhilaration. Running on the side of that hill has given me a great sense of freedom, feeling totally unfettered by cancer or chemo. Getting up that monster should should prepare me for Sunday, but Windermere also has fantastic undulation, not to mention the simple fact that it’s 26.2 miles.
Just as last time my preparation for this marathon has been interrupted by injury. Grace, my sister, asked me how much training I’d managed to get in after recovering from my infected blister. I looked at the calendar and was really surprised that I’d only trained for 2 weeks for this marathon. I guess I’d just slotted back into things and had forgotten about my layoff. Probably the best way to be really. I’m not trying to talk myself out of running in Windermere far from it. I am awed by the challenge, but not deterred. I’m really excited.
This weekend is also the weekend of the Great Manchester 10k. I was a little saddened to already be occupied running a Marathon. Mummy’s Star is a charity set up by my good mate and genuine inspiration Pete. It’s is the only charity in the UK that caters for pregnant women that have cancer, or have been diagnosed soon after giving birth. They have runners taking part in the Great Manchester Run and I would really like to have been one of them.
It is also the weekend of Rugby League’s Magic Weekend. Last year I was given free tickets to go and a friend and I had a wonderful time. On our journey to the Etihad I saw runners taking on the 2013 Great Manchester 10k. I felt sad that I wasn’t able to run and chided myself for not pushing myself to do more. I remember seeing those runners and their families and thought ‘I can do that’. Now only a year later I’m on the cusp of my second marathon and will be running at least a further four by the end of the year (I say at least, because I’ve really caught the bug). In the last year I feel like I’ve undergone a bit of a transformation. I’ve achieved a lot and learned to live with my cancer and treatment a little better. I’m very happy. I’ve got my beautiful wife and daughters to thank for that.
I’m really grateful to our Oncologist who’s been a tremendous support. I’m also really grateful to Beating Bowel Cancer who believed in me and gave me a place in the Berlin Marathon. Without that place I wouldn’t have had the confidence to set up my fitness challenge Ben’s Bowel Movements.
No matter how difficult it is and how much it hurts tomorrow I won’t be able to wipe the smile off my face!
Ben’s Bowel Movements. Running 6 Marathons in 6 months in support of cancer charities:
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