Monday, 19 April 2010
Brighton was very hot yesterday and almost the entire course was in direct sunlight, so I'm a different colour to when I set out first thing Sunday morning. But I'm also a different person who'se made a journey from unfit drink-too-much sloth to someone that's actually quite fit and certainly much healthier.
The day didn't start out too auspiciously. Tannoy systems urged runners to abandon the toilet queues and use those on the route as it was imperative we all got away by 0900 sharp. So we did, coralled behind a fence, only to wait for a ten minute delay. Cue lots more stretching by people who would otherwise get cramp, but this time crammed together like sardines.
But the rest of the route was extremely well laid out, well marshalled and clear. Huge credit to the organisers for everything they did on the day, most of whom were volunteers. Especial thanks to the St John's Ambulance who endured the ignomony of standing by the roadside with dollops of vaseline on their fingers for chafed up runners to wipe off as they went past!
Did I say Brighton was hot? It was absolutely baking and there was basically no shade at any point in the entire course. So all the training with fluid intake, throughout all those winter months from January, was made instantly irrelevant. I drank way more than normal but didn't feel the call of nature until I was all the way home in Shepherd's Bush hours later, so I must have been sweating it out. In fact I had so many salt deposits encrusted on my skin and clothes I looked like I'd been heavily sprinkled with the stuff.
Sadly I saw two runners who didn't make it, both of whom collapsed from dehydration. One of them was in a serious way and being loaded into an ambulance with a saline drip being held aloft by the vaseline dispensing st Johns Ambulanciers. I hope they were OK.
Even in the last four or five miles, where it was tough beyond belief, I kept noticing other people who were running for cancer charities of various kinds. I was running for Cancer Research UK. Many of them had "in memory of" cards on their vests. It made me think of the two people I lost this year very much. Natasha, Ray and others in recent times - Sharon, Heather. And all of a sudden it wasn't so bad to be running in the sun, next to the clear blue sea with aching feet.
But my abiding memory is of a girl of about 19 or 20 who was stood at about mile 12 with a simple cardboard sign saying "I'm a survivor". And so she was, and so should more people be, and that's why all of you who sponsored me should be as proud as I am today. Thank-you.
Posted by Chris Underwood at 07:44