I’m out of words; I did it!

I should’ve written this on Sunday evening, but I’ve been out of words since about 2pm on Sunday afternoon in the baking beautiful sunny afternoon. I ran the Brighton Marathon ladies and gentlemen, I really ran it!

I thought I had this blog all written in my head. From about mile 18 to the end I knew what it was going to say ‘NEVER AGAIN’. Whilst that is succinct and utterly conveys my thoughts, I didn’t want to let you off that lightly. 

Firstly the update. I completed the course in 5hrs, 14mins and 32secs and I’ve since heard from the organisers that the temperature was 21C at noon. I have no idea how much water I drank or how many gels I took, but a lot and it was all absolutely essential. I know you can acclimatise to pretty much anything, but it was the sudden arrival of the sun on race day which turned out to be a bit of a shock to the system. It was hard.

And the support around the course, it was so emotional! No-one ever told me to account for how to smile constantly for so long! I felt my mouth drying just from grinning every time I got cheered on, isn’t that the most wonderful conundrum you’ve ever come across?!

When I started this marathon lark, if I’m honest I was a bit sceptical, doubting that the crowd would carry me through, questioning if the training plan would work, wondering if I’d really be pleased no matter what happens. I worried about asking for sponsorship more than you would believe. 

I feel like the best thing I can say is this. If you have a niggling desire to run a marathon, just once, then do it.  But really do it:

  • Train properly for at least three months; suspend your normality for most of that period. 
  • Find something you really care about, and say it out loud, and hold on to that in the bad bits. If there’s nothing that makes you feel like that, talk to me more about FGM and I’ll keep on at you until you want to raise funds for the Divinity Foundation!
  • Run, run your heart out, carry on through the agony in your back, or feeling sick for hours, or whatever it is that happens to you. Because as you’re doing it, that pain goes every so often, and you’re running and you have been for 4 hours, but it’s still ok, for a few paces every so often, you’re flying! 

What has left me speechless since Sunday is an overwhelming feeling that it actually was all worth it. I can’t quite believe it, but I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Well, the scorching sunshine maybe…

You’ve all helped me raise over £1000 for a remarkable charity in Kenya who are going to use this to help many girls escape from being cut as children, and those girls will grow up into mothers themselves. And the Divinity Foundation will teach them along the way that FGM isn’t needed, and they will stop the cycle in their families. When one generation stops cutting their children, it’s almost always gone from the family, so saving one girl means protecting future generations from her onwards. Why not run a few miles if that’s the goal, it’s amazingly positive. 

In case anyone wants to donate still: www.goldengiving.com/fundraising/astrids-marathon

Thank you so much 

I have some thank yous to put out there, and my mum isn’t even going to get a look in this time. Thank you to:

  • My amazing cousin and partner-in-daft-schemes Lizzie (and her Chris) for giving me the biggest boost half way round – our next idea has to be easier than this! You made me so happy, I couldn’t even feel any pain for a few seconds!!
  • My besties for little pressies before and after, thank you ladies!
  • All the incredible messages, too many and lovely to imagine – I was particularly driven by the lovely  message from my Aunt that Fairclough genes would get me round – they did! But there are so many more messages, I will reply in the end!
  • On Fairclough matters, to my dad not least for collecting me in the middle of January about 9am on a Sunday morning in the most snow we had all winter, when one of my training runs went a little ‘off-piste’ shall we say. I’ve not told you this story have I. 😉
  • And Julian, he found me on Sunday in the family reunion area, and delayed his lunch for hours just to get me back to a shower. And he didn’t even tell me I smelt. 
  • The inventors of running underwear. Genius. And running lights, so much fun in evening dark runs!
  • The anonymous generous donor!! You’ve puzzled me no end. 
  • The generous non-anonymous sponsors; you’ve confounded me in your support in the very best way, thank you. 
  • The inventors of medals. I adore my most prized medal. 



Next up! SAVE THE DATE

Did you think I’d cleared off, given up, decided to be quiet?? Not my style. 

Coming very soon to a blog near you…it’s bold, it’s beautiful, it combines CRICKET, the MAASAI, and FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION. 

For Kentish and London folk, a special evening on 28 May 2017, tickets on sale very soon indeed. You won’t want to miss out. 

You will hear more about this soon!!

What have I learnt

I’ve gotten a bit soft already but I want to leave you with some advice, musings, thoughts for your own marathon attempts:

  • Don’t send any important emails/try to correspond with too many people in the 24/48 hours beforehand – you either won’t make sense or will come across as a grumpy whatsit. Sorry….
  • If you visit the Portaloos half way around, don’t do what I did…..clatter clunk….oh my tin of Vaseline has gone somewhere I am NOT going to follow…
  • Do NOT in any circumstances let your family see you try and walk downstairs for at least 36 hours after finishing. They will only laugh at you. Apparently it’s hilarious. Hmm. 
  • Book massages. Believe in the magical healing properties of Epsom salts. And love Jelly Babies and carry an emergency stash of fruit pastilles. 
  • Enjoy it. It’s worth it. 

You don’t have to admit that a fresh faced photo like this was taken within the first mile or so.

A nice photo before you leave for the day gives the air of cheeriness, even if never seen again.

Obviously good to get a photo showing how seriously I took my warm up and mindfulness pre-race.

On the cusp of 25 miles, one can still just about look ok!

Past the 25th mile, things start to look a bit rough.

Still makes me smile.

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