“When I saw the finish line I thought ‘Oh my God, it’s right there’ and I knew I had to run.”

Posted by / Thursday 20 April 2017 / Fundraising Events
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Gabs ran 26.2 miles in the year she turned 26 because she wanted to give back to a charity she loved, Action for Children.

The start of the race was really lovely, it was good weather, and there’s lots of green space in Greenwich. I was distracted by my surroundings, by the loud music, high fives and clever signs. One sign I remember said ‘hit here for a power up’ and if you high fived it they all cheered.

It felt so good to hear people telling you ‘you can do it!’. In the moment it feels so important because that’s what you’re trying to tell yourself the whole time.

Up until mile 13 it’s all a bit of a blur. That’s when I reached Tower Bridge. It’s the part I remember most clearly other than the finish line. It was such a cool experience because not many people get to see that view of Tower Bridge.

I remember thinking ‘this is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done’.
Gabs, 2016 marathon runner
marathon cheers

What was it like to see the Action for Children cheerpoint?

When they saw me they exploded in cheers and that felt amazing. I had a cold, so they gave me tissues. My colleagues were there and everyone was cheering me on.

So, the wall. Is it a myth?

People say the last mile is the hardest but it was mile 17 when I hit the wall. I couldn’t lift my legs. They felt like lead. I had never understood before what people were talking about when they mentioned it. And now I know what it feels like.

At one point when I slowed down to walk, somebody grabbed my hand. They were from Canada too and kept chatting to me to keep me running. If they hadn’t done that I don’t know if I would have made it in under 6 hours.

I definitely cried several times during the marathon, through exhaustion and emotion.
Gabs, 2016 marathon runner
Medal

I got to the next Action for Children cheer point on Embankment. My partner was supposed to meet me there but he didn’t make it in time. I carried on, searching for him and then I heard a whistle. I saw him standing on a fence with a sign that he had made on the tube and I just started crying.

How did it feel to cross the finish line?

I thought I was already over 6 hours but I thought just in case it wasn’t, I would keep running to the very last bit. I was literally talking to myself, it was painful but I was just telling myself everything I could to try and trick my brain into not feeling the pain and to just keep going.

I came in at 5:58:18.