I forgot to put this update in this Forum so it’s a little out of date. I’ve actually now raised 30pence shy of £12,500 for PCUK! Hope you find it interesting. My achievements are nothing like those of Kevlaa (who cheered me on at the PCUK cheering point) and I know that not everyone is able to do things like this but if it encourages anyone to keep on keeping on then that would be great!
The detailed report on yesterday’s London marathon. I knew that this was going to be tough but I had got a place by running an over 60 Good For Age qualifying time and had a tough decision to make about whether to take the place or not as, in May last year I was diagnosed with incurable prostate and the treatment has devastated my running due to the side effects (fatigue, loss of muscle mass, hot flushes etc) caused by having no testosterone. I’d gone from running Parkrun in 22 minutes to taking 25 minutes on a good day! Training had been severely limited by the fatigue with runs occasionally finishing severely cut short and me in tears mourning the things I could no longer do due to this bloody illness. I knew this was going to be my toughest challenge ever and then we got the double whammy of the hottest London marathon on record. It was utterly brutal and I’d been sweating buckets (hot flushes) since getting out to the start.
Race day started with an early breakfast at 6.30, my usual eggs on toast staple pre marathon meal. Then it was final prep, slapping on the lubricant and extra strong sun tan cream and out to London Bridge to catch the train to Maze Hill shortly before 8.00.
Before I could prep I’d agreed to meet the Prostate Cancer UK charity guys and do a Facebook interview at Greenwich Observatory and the interview was conducted in the direct glare of a very hot sun that saw all the interviewees sweating like the proverbial pigs.
Then it was a route march over to the green start, remember to take my cancer meds plus a salt tablet and then into seeding pen 8 for what felt like an eternity. Saw Queenie start the race on the big screen and 5 minutes later was through the start line and off and running.
My training had been punctuated by runs where energy levels were super low and I knew inside the first mile that this was going to be one of those days, added to which it was cracking the pavements hot, 23-24c in the shade (there wasn’t any) so probably into the mid to high 30’s in the direct sun.
This was a day for getting round and finishing and I decided very early to start walking every so often. By the second half that had become running every so often.
I knew that this was going to be mentally really tough but then I’d run the Comrades ultra marathon and that’s a race where mental toughness is vital so the old Collier guts and determination kicked in. I was absolutely determined to keep going and sod the time, that wasn’t relevant but the £11k fundraising for PCUK was!
It was great to hear the Styal RC (my running club) scream team, Tracey Collier (the boss), Andy Dooley, Liz Dooley, Gill Jones and Tony Lloyd out on the course a couple of times, Cutty Sark and mile 17. At mile 17 Andy shouted that Tracey was right at the front slightly further along and I found her and got a big hug and she told me how proud of me she was. Well that started the tears flowing for the next half mile!
By the time we got to 20 miles I had never been in a marathon where so many people were walking. It was the hottest part of the day, no shade and just brutal. People were falling like 9 pins and that kind of plays on your mind. I was determined to finish that I really didn’t care how I got there but I was bloody well going to no matter what.
Turning past BigBen with a mile to go I still had to walk a little and turning onto the Mall and seeing the finish was such a beautiful thing. I had nothing left to sprint to the line so I continued to plod and crossed the line in 5:07 which is a personal worst by 1:20. My previous average time over 19 marathons was 3.33 which really highlights the impact of this b****** disease coupled with the heat.
A highlight of the race was meeting my pal Pascale Billiau on Tower Bridge and running with our arms around each other for 100 yards and then seeing the New York marathon 2013 scream team (a group of friends from all over the world who met up in Central Park the day before the NYC marathon in 2013), Scott Flagg, Kam and all the others. Probably wasted 5 minutes here for photos but who cared.
After I finished, picked up medal, goody bag, tshirt and found Tracey it was then over to PCUK reception with Andy, Liz, Tony and Gill for a well earned beer. Then back to the hotel for a quick shower and out for food and proper re-hydration and then over to meet the NYC 2013 gang and catch up with Stephen Orr and Jane Baker who had got their World Marathon Majors 6 star medals at the London finish. Andy Dooley had started me off on the WMM mission that I completed in 2014 but a lot of the New York 2013 group had been set on the same road by me and it was wonderful to see them celebrating their fantastic achievements.
So, that’s it! Endurance running over with. 20 marathons, 1 ultra and I’m out. I still love running and I’ll carry on as long as this b****** disease lets me.
If you’ve got this far thanks for reading all my tosh. I’m feeling pretty emotional about everything but now I’m an honorary women I’m allowed!