When I entered the VLM ballot I thought what are the chances, all I wanted was to say I tried to get a space in London. To my shock on the 10/10/16 I got the call from my hubbie Ross to say I was in! I was granted a ballot space what had I done, I had only ran up to 10 miles to this point.

Training started and I even tried track a couple of times and it was really good but I just didn’t feel it was for me. I loved going out with the Friday gang but my legs just couldn’t manage the Thursday night/Friday morning.

I went for my first half marathon run with Kirsty and it was hard but felt so elated that I had managed it and it was at that point I thought if I can do that I can do the full marathon if I trained. I trained hard, I did a mid week run along with my Friday mornings with the gang, then the long one on a Sunday. Every Sunday I worried that I wouldn’t be able to up the mileage but I managed with a little help from my friends especially Ann who was always by my side. London Marathon day arrived and I had mixed emotions all weekend, even until I rocked up to the start line. So many people out for the same purpose to test yourself and see how far you could go.

I am the turtle to all the hares out there but I was going to give it my best shot. Just before mile 6 nerves kicked in and I had to make a pit stop, portable loos really not my thing but far better than the alternative to a shee wee that I had to use earlier in the day, a day of new firsts and lasts.

Back on track and I saw the Cutty Sark, a site I had only seen on TV – I was here running around the London Marathon route. I got to mile 10 and wondered what I was doing, this was crazy why was I doing this, the mental game was going on in my head and I had to fight it to stay strong – I was going to do this. I reached Tower Bridge and I was over the moon, I was running the VLM and I was on Tower Bridge, I couldn’t stop smiling all the way over, people calling my name and saying well done Chelle “your on your way”. I kept looking out for any famous people or anyone getting interviewed so that I could try to get on TV. What a beautiful site that bridge was. Went another couple miles and it hit me, I felt so emotional and it was so hard not to burst out crying, I really just wanted a hug but I’m sure that would have upset me more. At that point I texted Ross knowing that he had finished and said this is pants ( actually used a stronger word). I was struggling and I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it. He texted me back saying keep going & I will try to find you, chin up over 2k raised in sponsorship money. Before I put my phone away and I thought I might as well text Ann. Ann and the gang had been sending me encouraging messages that I could read on my watch. Ann knows me so well and said this is your struggle point, (I had had a few in training), Re focus you will do it, pick a point and move forward. So I tried to think of all the best things about doing this marathon, me just a normal slow pace person being given this opportunity, raising so much money for charity and everyone at home friends / family all believing in me. I couldn’t let them down. I moved one foot forward and kept moving.

My nutrition was working ok, gels & jelly babies kept me from being hungry however all I wanted was crisps any crisps just to eat something that wasn’t sweet.

I kept crossing the 5k markers and thought of everyone at home would know I had made it to the next section. I wasn’t going to let them down.

The streets were lined with people, one lady said to me at 19 miles, your nearly there Chelle keep going, if I wasn’t so tired I would have given her a what for…..

I kept running slowly but kept going. I meet Ross around mile 22 and he was a beautiful site, massive hug and I said I can’t go on but knew I had too. He shooed me on and I had to keep running as he was watching me with such pride. I had to take it half a mile at a time, I could not think you only have 4 more to go. I kept asking people when I would see Ben I needed to see him (Big Ben) and when I saw the London Eye I knew I was nearly there. I had to do this bit by bit knowing I could and I would.

A friend I work with about 15 years ago and hadn’t seen for just as long had been tracking me and popped out to see me just as I rounded the corner at Big Ben.

I knew I could do it, I had asked Ross if we could walk the last bit the day before so I had it in my head, I could feel it. I remembered what Ann had said to me, don’t go to fast at the end wait until you see the finish line clock. But I was ready before as I reached about 400m I wiped my face of all the sweat, tears and grub, I saw the palace and I loved it, I was here. I put everything I had left to run straight, holding my head high, I had done this, I was going to get my bling. I was proud. The wonderful site of the lady who put that medal around my neck, I asked her for a hug as I really needed one she obliged and said carry on down the line and anyone else will give you a hug too. It was fine I told her, I just needed that one.

Never again I said on Sunday afternoon including all the way around, as much as I loved the atmosphere the crowds and the experience, never ever again.

Although Monday morning was a different thought, I could do better next time….. my moto Run fast Run slow Just run. The ballot opens in another 6 days what are the chances 😂.