The Charco Blog

On the road to the London marathon

Dave runs the London Landmarks half marathon

Go to London, they said, run the London Landmarks half marathon, they said, it’s absolutely fantastic, they said…

After the weekend in the capital, which included watching my football team lose in a top of the table clash (Carlisle United?), we (that’s me and Helen – my wife) dragged ourselves out of bed on Sunday morning to take part in the London Landmarks half Marathon. It never ceases to amaze me how people who live in London appear to live at a faster pace than those of us who live (a lot) further North. People were rushing around at 9am on a Sunday morning- why? I really don’t know, maybe someone can explain it?

Setting off with kindness everywhere

After negotiating a massive gap between train and platform at Clapham Junction (I almost had to run and jump into the train!), we arrived via Vauxhall station and the Victoria line at Green Park. You could tell we were close by the sheer number of people walking around in various charity t-shirts. We then walked past The Ritz and onto St James Street in our search for the elusive baggage buses (more on that shortly). Unfortunately, it was a little on the ‘fresh’ side, and there were an awful lot of people wandering about looking very cold; I don’t suppose, when you consider the temperature eventually reaching around 15°C, most people would have even thought about wearing something warm. One of the things I like about these events is how it brings out human kindness to each other; every year, people simply peel off any extra layers and leave them at the start, where they are collected by various charities that support the homeless, and they are then redistributed to others more needy. My wife had somehow managed to get into the wave before me; runners set off in ‘waves’, with the first one setting off at 09:30, though I didn’t pass the start line until 11am! There were so many people!

We ran together and finished the line together 

If you know anyone with Parkinson’s really well, you know that a crowd doesn’t normally make us particularly happy, but I was off running and nothing was going to stop me. I saw the ‘Charco Paparazzi’ at mile 1; I always pull faces at the camera, and the photos will no doubt show me looking like some crazy person! The Paparazzi stalked me around the course; it’s some trick, knowing exactly where I was going to be and when! It’s not really that mysterious, as we are all trackable nowadays. Simply download the app, put in my race number, and there you go! Details of my current pace, location, and more can all be found, so it makes it easy to find others. This will be useful during the marathon (not long to go now!). I caught Helen up at around 11.5miles, and so we ran the last mile and a half together. We even crossed the finish line together; this is the first time I have ever done that, as my competitive nature does not normally allow me to do such a thing.

“Well done dad” is all I wanted to hear 

We ran across Westminster Bridge together and back down to Downing Street, where we were greeted by not only the two Charco team members, but my beaming daughter (who, by the way, is running the New York Marathon later this year). “Well Done, Dad!” is all I wanted to hear. Her Mam got a “well done” too. We then had the mission of finding the baggage buses so we could get changed out of our sweaty running gear into something a bit more comfortable. By the time we’d found the buses (they’d moved them!), it was severely eating into our pub time, so we went up some steps and down some steps more times than I believe was necessary (my daughter does like to test our fitness levels). We eventually went to probably the largest pub I’ve been to in a very long time. It even has a slide and bowling alleys inside (as well as an ice cream parlour). We sat down and had that well deserved pint I had promised myself since 09:00 this morning. I also at this point got to finally meet the legend that is Tom Walden; not as tall as I expected; people always look taller online for some reason, I think. Tom had been on the course too, although I didn’t see him.

Is it 13.1miles or is it Parkinson’s?

We were both starting to stiffen up when it was time to leave and go for our TEA! Remember, I am a Northerner- our meals go Breakfast, Dinner, Tea, and NOT Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. The day ended with trying to get into the shower with everything starting to stiffen up and becoming a tad painful. I blame it on Parkinson’s, obviously, but some people will tell you it’s because I’d just ran 13.1 miles around London, on a kind of masochistic tourist trail around all the landmarks of our capital city. Anyway, in 19 days, I’ll be back, this time to do it all again, but twice as much. We start at Blackheath and we don’t finish until the Mall. London will experience the ‘Beehive sprint’, or maybe a ‘flying goose’ (ask me sometime and I will demonstrate!).

Remember; we don’t finish because Parkinson’s makes us, we finish because WE are done!

We fight on; another victory, Dave-2, Parkinson’s-0/

Jog on, my friends.

Peace out!

David Little