It’s over 30 years since I first watched The London Marathon. I remember it well, lying in my bed watching all those inspirational people pounding the streets of London. I might even have shed a tear or two at the many thousands of fantastic people raising huge amounts of money for charity. I believe it is sill the single biggest event for most charities in raising much needed funding. That alone deserves our support. Once again on Sunday, I settled down to watch the athletic spectacular. I’ve been watching this race for too many years, it’s now time to make a commitment. And so I would like to take this opportunity to announce………….. No Way ! Are you mad? You’ll never see me completing 26 miles in anything other than a car. I’ve witnessed these people out training, dragging themselves out of a comfy home after a hard days work. It must be the attraction of the lycra, face’s strained and blisters popping as they pound the moors in weather you wouldn’t see me out in in less than three jumpers, two shirts and a heavy winter coat. It might not be too bad if it was just April, at least you can rely on the temperature being in positive numbers most of the time, but training in the depths of winter – No thanks. I can see how you all ‘catch the bug’, but for the moment my objective is to avoid bugs of any kind. And there’s a perfectly good way of seeing the sights of London. The Cutty Sark, Docklands, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The Mall. They’re called tourist buses, and there’s no training required. You don’t even have to load up with pasta beforehand it you don’t want to, and you can buy those reflective silver sheet things from most camping shops, you don‘t have to run 26 miles to get one. Another tip, if you really are determined to win, get yourself a wheelchair. Have you not noticed that it’s always a wheelchair athlete that always comes home first. Hardly surprising really is it, giving them wheels. I’m all for equal rights for the disabled, but that’s just plain favouritism, I don’t see how anybody hasn’t complained before. And who would work on one of those drink stations, no sooner do you give the athletes a drink than they throw them away. That’s just plain ungrateful. There is perhaps one thing that the organising committee for 2012 could learn from the marathon though. There has been quite a lot of controversy recently over false start, faulty starts, disqualifications. Well get a celebrity to start the Olympic races with one of those hooters, you’ve never seen a false start in the London Marathon have you? No No….come back, we’re not ready….come back, come back. Benton….Benton.
It’s all about horses for courses anyway, isn’t it? I’ve never pretended or wanted to be an athlete. And out of 36 000 doing the London Marathon, no-one would notice if I was missing. Best to leave it to those who know what they’re doing. Of course it’s people like me who should be eternally grateful for those raising much needed funds for the many hundreds of charities. All equally important to those affected. I often wonder about charity fatigue, we’ve all done it. Walked the other way in the street when you spot one in the distance. Made excuses at the door, pretended to have lost the envelope etc. But there is no doubt that they are all genuine. There are tens of thousands of people out there who give up their time, their energy, even their life to try and make things better for the rest of us.
I’ve already spoken about Chris (@LairdDoyle), someone I don’t know other than through Twitter, and he reads my blog. He’s running the Great Manchester Run on 22nd May in aid of Cancer Research UK. This charity is close to me, it plays such a huge part in the running of The Christie Hospital where I am being treated. Many of the treatments and new drugs discovered by CRUK are tested on Christie patients, and every one of them is grateful for the opportunity in doing do. They play a major part in the worldwide search for a cure for cancer, or drugs to alleviate symptoms of this horrible disease. I am honoured that Chris is running with my name on his shirt. Another is Claire Farrow, (@kayakingclaire) a full time specialist colonoscopy nurse, who, again in her spare time, is raising money for cancer victims. As if she hadn’t had enough with her day job. Claire will be taking part in The Belfast City Marathon on 7th May, in aid of Beating Bowel Cancer (www.beatingbowelcancer.org) a charity that helps patients and their families deal with bowel cancer, as well as helping in the fight to inform, educate and support the public. Details of each of their ‘just giving’ pages are below:
If you could just spare a couple of pounds, one less latté on the way to work in the morning, one less pint in the pub this weekend, one less cream cake or maybe the change in your pocket. Every single penny really does help. I would ask you please, donate whatever you can, it would mean a lot to me personally.