Today saw the 2018 London Marathon, a race around the city of London covering 26.2 miles, not for the faint hearted.
This year I heard there were 300,000 applicants going for the 38,000 or so places, a great race with great supporters and also the largest fund raising event in the world, raising over £770 million or one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) so far, a race drawing people of all ages and from all walks of life toward the same goal, the finish line.
Of course for the athletes this is a race, demanding incredible training to develop such stamina to achieve such pace for such a length of time.
For the tens of thousands of normal runners however, this is more of a personal goal, their mountain to climb, with only themselves to fall back on, or to blame.
Personally I have run several half marathons, although not for a while now and, I might add, always a struggle as
I am not a running type,
but in 2004 I was one of the lucky ones, joining this illustrious group and getting to run in the London marathon myself.
Of course I trained for this but with my longest run in training just twenty one miles, so I still had five more to add on for the big day.
This again is like Wing Chun:
I had a goal obviously, to cross that finish line as I had seen thousands and thousands do before while watching it on the television, but while running the race, if ever I thought ahead to that moment I just felt disheartened, knowing there was such a long way to go, with no short cuts, no cheating and no easy ride,
you either do it or you don’t.
Head down, one step at a time, supported by the crowd, the cheers, the shouts, the music and all the people around me on the same journey, I went on, and went on.
Eventually I passed Big Ben and the houses of parliament, heading down the last stretch toward the finish.
I remember seeing the 26 MILES mark and thinking I had done it, but then seeing a huge distance ahead of me, realizing and remembering the dreaded .2, to me the longest .2 in history.
Passing Big Ben I headed down past St James’ Park and saw a sign saying 385 YARDS TO GO, I turned right expecting to see the finish but was faced with yet another sign, 200 YARDS TO GO, then, finally make the last right turn to see the finish line and Buckingham Palace.
There it was, the finish line, just as I had seen it on the TV, but this time it would be me crossing it, as I did with arms outstretched, tears of emotion and joy.
But as I wrapped the foil blanket around my shoulders a lady came up to me and said thank you, thank you?
She then explained to me that she was ready to give up, deciding she couldn’t take it anymore, until a point at the 24 MILES mark, where she saw me and what was written on my back.
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
She told me how she saw that message and decided that if she could follow it, she would be ok, she did and it worked.
So the point is this:
We all may have goals, but when we look too far ahead those goals can seem unachievable and unrealistic, BUT, taking one step at a time you can achieve anything, AND, who knows, perhaps along the way you may help or even inspire others.
So keep training, and let the goal come to you rather than you chasing it.
You don’t need to decide to run a marathon, just take each day as it comes and at some point you’ll look over your shoulder and realise:
You’ve already run one.