To celebrate the publication of my book, Why We Run, which comes out in time for the London Marathon next year, it seems only sensible that I booked myself a place at the start line on Blackheath on Sunday 17th April. Officially this will be my third London Marathon, however two years ago I ran the course from Ben Big to the start line at 4am as they were setting up the barricades.
The first hour was spent dodging abuse from late night revellers, including a young couple stumbling out of a diplomat’s car, but by the time I made it to Canary Wharf the streets were closed and empty and it was as though I had the whole of London to myself.
When asked by my running partner, Alex, what to expect, I explained that there was a tradition amongst hardened running to do the double. As it turned out, we were the only ones, although a group of boy scouts goaded us on by saying that someone else had passed them not long before.
I am still surprised that there was no one else on the road, but next year I will be running the double. I will start at 4am and give myself a comfortable 4 hours to get to the start line before turning around at 9.30am – and then home for a late lunch. Besides being the opportunity for a little adventure, it is really the chance to raise as much money as possible for the MIND mental health charity. I am aiming to raise more than £3,000 for a charity who tirelessly campaign for the awareness of mental health issues, the prevalence of which I have come to understand much more fully in recent years.
So, as a shameless plug, if you read this and would like to sponsor me, please follow this link. Many thanks in advance.