Despite being an experienced 10K charity runner, I’d never taken part in a half marathon event before, let alone the biggest one in the world. Bearing that in mind, I opted to combine my daily Rembrandt running commutes with intensive training in the fabulous Aquilla Health Club. Thanks to the valuable insights and advice given by their Fitness Instructors, coupled with extensive training and use of their facilities over a period of approximately 4 and a half months, I felt confident and capable of taking on the challenge that awaited me up in the North East.
As I ran along the 13.1 mile (21.09km) course from Newcastle down to South Shields, I remembered the sage words of wisdom from my Aquilla colleagues and maintained my focus to ensure a steady and solid pace from start to finish. With over 54,000 runners, it occasionally seemed like more of an obstacle course than a half marathon as I found myself having to navigate around others who had gotten carried away in the earlier stages and found themselves having barely enough energy to walk, let alone run, the remainder of the race. I can’t speak for them, but I personally derived a great deal of strength and motivation from the hundreds of supporters that lined the route from beginning to end. Finishing with a time of 2 hours and 7 minutes (not a bad effort for an amateur!), I remember feeling an enormous sense of elation and self-achievement which served to completely blot out any pain felt in my limbs (and believe it or not, from sunburn – the sun was so strong that day!).
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my wonderful colleagues from The Rembrandt for sponsoring and supporting me for the run. Thanks to them, as well as my friends and family, I was able to raise just over £300 for St. John’s Ambulance, an organisation that provides an invaluable service to us Londoners and indeed the whole nation. I hope that my experience will inspire others to pick up their trainers instead of their car keys and reap the physical and mental rewards of running (or indeed cycling!) from A to B. As they say, a healthy workforce is a happy one!