Your Story: Ryan's virtual marathon

Hey team starfish - almost 1 month has passed since the virtual London Marathon and I think I’ve just about recovered! 

When I was given a place in the 2020 London Marathon I was super excited, I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, a bucket list item I needed to tick off BUT after multiple half marathons I knew for sure this was not something I wanted to do regularly haha. 

I’m not built for distance running, I compete a lot in spartan races and crossfit competitions so I am pretty comfortable over 10k and I would class myself as a fit individual but running a marathon was always going to be a one and done event for me so I wanted it to be at the biggest and best marathon in the world - London!! 

Obviously the pandemic had other ideas - so when it was cancelled I was devastated, I’d raised the money and trained hard (which is the hardest thing to do when you don’t enjoy long distance running). 

I work for a well known travel agency and each season I am based in different destinations - so I was training in the mountains of Austria last winter! I then moved to Kos in Greece for the summer season and was scheduled to come back to London for the marathon. Instead I came back to the U.K. to quarantine. 

I had lost all hope of the Marathon going ahead - completely stopped running training and went back to Crossfit. Then when it was announced it could be done virtually from anywhere in the world I immediately thought to myself - no way, I haven’t been training, I’m in Greece and I cannot do a marathon here with no support, no crowd and I really only want to run this distance ONCE in my life. 

Well, then I started to have second thoughts - I was thinking about what an incredible achievement it would be to do the virtual, how cool would it be to say I completed the first ever virtual marathon and also the 40th race - I started to get excited about actually doing it and I was looking at potential routes I could run. 

In the end I signed up! I wanted the 40th race medal! I figured out a running route and i roped in some of my work colleagues to support me.....

One big problem - I still hadn’t done ANY running training all summer. 

Sunday the 4th October came around very quickly - and I knew it was going to be tough, I hadn’t run further than 5km in 6 months, I was hoping my fitness and mental toughness would get me through. Which in the end in did! 

I’ve never felt so much pain in my legs - from mile 18 onwards I was pretty much shuffling to complete the distance, stopping every so often due to cramps and really fighting every inch - not to mention it was 33 degree heat here in Kos. 

I was supported by team mates who ran with me for small distances each and one of the hotels I work with were amazing in organising a special finish line for me! 

I somehow got through it - what helped was whilst I was running I was going live on social media platforms to occupy my mind and interact with friends and family - at the same time I was receiving donations for the FHA - this spurred me on to keep going and complete the distance! 

So afterwards I was hurting for a few days, and I am no longer going to be the guy who says ‘one and done’ instead, I’m going to be saying ‘one more time, but this time in London, with crowds!! 

I really hope that this will be possible in 2021 and I can run with some fellow starfish members along the way! 

See you on the start line, take care 

Ryan


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