7 April 2014

No Mean Feat

Marcus Gwilliam
From Emma-Louise Martin: As many of you know (and have kindly sponsored), my fiancé Marcus has been doing lots of running events (the Great South Run, the Bexhill 10k, the Battle 10k, Bognor 10k, Bexhill santa run, Hastings santa run and the Eastbourne Half Marathon) all for Invest in ME.

On the 6th April came his biggest challenge yet- the Brighton Marathon. This was his first full marathon and both of us were wondering what to expect. As an ME sufferer, climbing the stairs feels like a marathon, so I would not even know where to begin with a 26.2 mile run!

In the weeks prior to the marathon, Marcus also had some extra challenges. He had to travel to Hong Kong for business and suffered a rare allergic reaction to the injections he needed to travel, and on the Tuesday before race day he suffered a back injury at work. A worrying time on its own, without having the marathon to think about!

All of a sudden the day of the marathon crept up quickly. We spent the evening before getting everything needed ready. It really is amazing to discover how much is needed for a race- it was like packing for a holiday!

As Marcus' boss made the extremely generous offer of doubling our fundraising total (a big thankyou to Rob at Edward Baden in Uckfield, East Sussex!) Marcus came up with the great idea of adding their logo to his running shirt (kindly donated by the Invest in ME team). He also set up a text donation and added the information to the shirt to raise some more funds. 

And so to race day! We set off at 5am to take our two dogs down to Marcus' parents in Bognor Regis. This allowed us to get the train into Brighton instead of the added stress of trying to park in a busy city centre. The train was full of eager runners, all eating energy boosting breakfasts and chatting about the day ahead. Luckily the train made an additional stop at Preston Park, where the race was going to start- this meant I could save extra "spoons" for the day. 

Preston Park was full of people- lots were dressed in colours of their chosen charity and Marcus and I both felt proud to be wearing our Invest in ME tshirts. It wasn't long to wait until everyone headed towards their Start pens ready for the 9:15 start. The race was started by the famous runner Paula Radcliffe and she high fived people as they ran past. I watched Marcus set off, and slowly made my way in the crowd to another viewing spot. I had an App on my phone that showed the route and I was able to track Marcus' progress each step of the way.

At mile 8 I got a text from Marcus saying he had become injured- the back injury he suffered earlier in the week had come back. He was also suffering extreme pain in his legs and foot but was determined to keep going. I was so happy to see him coming down the hill and he stopped off for a quick kiss and hug before continuing on his way. 

Later on the sun came out and it was lovely to lean on the railing feeling the warmth on my face. Marcus' injuries were getting worse and he had to have a couple of pit stops at the ambulances for treatment. Despite the pain and discomfort he was going through, I was so proud to see his symbol on my phone app getting closer to me on the seafront. It was wonderful to see him ploughing on and to hear people cheering for him. He had gained a Burger King crown (he insists he didn't have a quick bite to eat and a rest haha) and a little boy shouted to him "burger king man you are the best thing I have seen all day!" 
The seafront became very crowded towards the finish line which was quite daunting- I was worried I wouldn't be able to get through if people were moving quickly (compared to my snail's pace) but luckily the sheer volume of people meant no-one was moving fast. I met Marcus at the Finish Line- wearing his medal (which he then presented to me and let me wear), carrying his finishers pack and wrapped in a heat blanket. I cannot truly put into words how proud I am of everything he has achieved and I am so lucky to have his love and support. He has already signed up for the Hastings Half Marathon and Brighton Marathon next year! 

We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of so many people. The amount of donations has been incredible so Marcus and I would like to thank everyone who has donated, wished him luck, shared our Just Giving link and retweeted messages. Thankyou to you all!!!

Special thankyou to Edward Baden, David Sherlock Home Improvements, Jo Best and Paul Kayes for all their support xx

If you would still like to make a donation for Invest in ME and create an even bigger total: http://www.justgiving.com/Emma-Martin84

Text EMME50 £1 to 70070
Emma-Louise Martin
Kindly Sponsored by Edward Baden