*image credits: Virgin London Marathon website
It’s been a while since I’ve written on the Blog. Sure enough I did just start full time, but to be honest I haven’t been there a full week yet; I got this nasty hay fever + cold/flu that completely threw me down for a week and half! Honestly I don’t know how people with babies do it, but not being able to sleep is one of the worst things ever! How can you function? I know I can’t…
Anyways, I am back and today I am telling you all about my first experience at the London Marathon.
Last Sunday (24th April) I went down to Embankment station (London) with my team to set up one of our charities’ cheering points.
The London Marathon is one of the biggest events for most charities, as many people choose to run for a cause and raise money for that cause’s charity. We had 170 runners signed up for us. To make sure they had the best possible support, we gathered a few volunteers from work and set up several cheering points along the way to motivate and encourage these incredible humans who chose to run 26 something miles (40km) for us.
I was very excited to be there and to cheer for our ‘yellow dressed’ runners; it was set up to be an amazing day – despite the freezing cold and the fact that I was only-just starting to feel better. But running 26 miles’ trumps all of that so I thought I should woman-up.
The day was indeed exiting and fun; what I didn’t expect was how emotional it also would be. After the mini marathon, the kids’ marathon, the Paralympics, and the elite runners went through (oh yeah, it was a loooong day) an array of people wearing the most diverse outfits, charity tops and fancy dress (yep) started flooding in. And suddenly it gets you; it finally gets to you why anyone in their right minds – who isn’t a professional athlete – would ever put themselves through this madness: they’re doing it for love. Love for people or causes they care deeply about. Love for those they’ve lost to cruel conditions and to help prevent it happen to others. And there’s those who do it for pride, to push their limits, for achievement… which is quite impressive too. ‘Cause being stationed at mile 25 let me tell ya: that s*it can’t be easy. I mean I’d be crawling probably since mile 4…
On the day, I met families of those who were running. They’d come to us and say: ‘oh my husband/dad/friend is running for your charity’. So they’d tag along and we’d get to know all about that family and why they were running. ‘For our daughter’, ‘for our nephew’, ‘for his student’, ‘for me’… In one particular case, ‘for me’ was a young lady with Cystic Fibrosis and her husband was running for her. When we saw him we started cheering with all our strength, and he saw us and in tears hugged and kissed his wife. He then went on to finish the marathon and get his medal, leaving us all in tears.
But it wasn’t just our charity. As the runners went by, you could read the messages on their tops: ‘in loving memory of’; ‘uncle Jamie’s got you’ (and uncle Jamie was dressed all in pink wearing fairy wings and a magic wand!); ‘for Emma’; ‘for Jack’; some had pictures of who they were running for… And then there were those running for other causes like ‘prevent the Gorilla or Rhino extinction’, ‘shelter dogs’. For fireman. For native Indians… so many it was impossible to keep track.
Cheering the London Marathon restored my faith in human kind. It proves how we’re capable of this beautiful ginormous love. We’re not only represented by the monsters taking over our media channels. No. We’re so much more, so much bigger than that. We are actually on the right track. And we need to keep on pushing – for what we believe in, ‘for the change we wish to see in the world’… for love. No other quote seemed more adequate than ‘Love Actually’ opening monologue:
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
What I learned cheering the London Marathon is that this is true: love actually is all around us. Everywhere.
So if you are ever feeling gloomy with the state of the world I suggest you cheer a marathon.
Oh but do avoid being taken a picture of while you’re cheering, blissfully unaware, ‘cause look at this: