SJA member David Owen goes the distance, and raises nearly Â£5,000 for the Laurie Engel Fund
As temperatures on November 4 in Athens plunged towards freezing, I was starting to get worried.
But conditions for the marathon the next morning turned out to be just about perfect, even if many of the approaching 3,000 runners put on bin liners to keep warm while awaiting the starting gun at 8.30 sharp. So much for the glamour and romance of running the original marathon course. We must have looked like an aliens’ convention. Laurie would have seen the funny side.
It was a surprisingly enjoyable experience and, although I took almost exactly twice as long as the race winner to cover the 26.2 miles, I could not believe how fast the time went. I had the odd sticky moment, as nearly everyone does in a race this long, but of course it’s self-inflicted and strictly nothing compared to what those we are raising money for have to go through.
That thought, plus visions of having to ‘fess up to the less tactful among your colleagues and friends if you don’t stay the course, is what keeps you going. And then there are the sprightly pensioners who seem to plod past you with sobering regularity. If they can do this….
The most beautiful part of any marathon is the finish. This is certainly the case in Athens where the finishing line is in the marble Panathinaikon stadium, which staged the first modern Olympics in 1896.
And about four and a half hours after I started, that’s where I ended up, just missing the podium in something like 1,900th position. Much more importantly, it looks like the generosity of my donors will raise between £4,000 and £5,000 for the Laurie Engel Fund (click on this link to contribute towards the charity target).
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