The lovely Marcia ran her Virtual Marathon for Alzheimer's Society, her inspiring story is below. Big well done Marcia! What a great achievement!
It is dreadful to lose someone you love but to lose them before they die is even worse so I ran the 2020 London Marathon in memory of my parents - my mother who suffered from dementia and my father who cared for her and also for many other friends who have been affected by this cruel disease. I planned to dedicate each mile to someone I know has been affected by dementia but as I made my list I realised I would have to run a lot further than 26.2 miles so we all have a lot to do to support the charities researching this condition
I started running just before my 58th birthday when my mother was diagnosed with dementia and following couch to 5k I joined parkrun then did a 10k and the Great South Run. At my 60th birthday party I said I wanted to do a marathon and managed to get a charity place with the Alzheimers Society for 2020 and training hard got to a pretty good level of fitness by March then lock down happened. I continued to train but found it hard to stay motivated so did online gym classes 6 days a week throughout lockdown and think that really helped strengthen my dodgy knees hips and ankles. Training in the heat of the summer was really tough and I seriously doubted whether I could do the distance but support from the team at the Alzheimer society and their training team “Running with us“ was fantastic.
I had always run on my own listening to podcasts but the family offered to run with me on the day and I really believe that made all the difference. I set a nice route which meant running north from a Chichester for 6 miles, back to Chichester and then south along the harbour and back up the canal, a route I was familiar with and consisting of sections I had covered many times. On race day I set off from home at 9..30 with a group of neighbours providing a noisy send off.The first 3 miles were fine possibly a little faster than planned as I ran on my own to set my pace. I then was met by a friend on her bike who cycled alongside me for 4 miles. My daughter then joined me for 5 miles - she had run the really hot London marathon a couple of years ago and the conditions could not have been more different. It was lashing with rain and blowing a gale and I was soaked through but liking the temperature. Her partner then took over at the 12 mile mark where a group of friends were gathered. I then pushed on to do a 3 hour half marathon which Is not fast but not too bad for a slightly decrepit 62 year old!!! Another friend who has run 6 marathons took over as my companion runner at mile 16 and got me to mile 22 taking me into uncharted territories as I had never run more than 18 miles before. The conditions were appalling and it was wet and slippery underfoot so my pace slowed but Beverley pushed me on. My son in law then kept me occupied along the side of the canal with “a name the celebrity” word game which took my mind off the aches and pains but the cold was encouraging me to run to keep warm The last leg took me up the final stretch of the canal. My brother in law joked it could be worse- we could have been fishing as we passed some wet and disconsolate fishermen. The end was in sight I realised if we pushed on I could do sub 6-45 but as we reached the railway crossing the barriers came down and stayed down for 4 minutes! We ran round the park and found the family and neighbours(all socially distancing) spread along the road with bells, whistles saucepans and a finish line. I was presented with flowers and a London Marathon medal from 1984. An extra walk down the road ensured my Garmin device had registered 26.2 miles as a back up. Happily and rather amazingly I have no blisters, still have my toenails and apart from a friction burn on my right arm felt really good in the following days- a miracle having done 55,584 steps
We have raised over £3000 for the Alzheimers Society, it was truly a team effort and I would do it all over again so if anyone is thinking of taking on a marathon DO IT !! If I can do it anyone can.