Monday, September 28, 2009

A Thank You
From My Son James

Hi everyone

I know my Dad has kept most of you updated on my first half marathon adventure, and has on my behalf delivered a personal thanks to each of you for taking the time and donating generously to Leukaemia Research.
I’ve been so overwhelmed with the level of support from people who have never met or spoke to me that I felt compelled to write to you directly, primarily to say thank you once again, but also to let you know a little about how it went as your backing certainly proved an inspiration on race day.
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is a city in the very north of England, some four to five hour drive from where I live in Birmingham. Famous for its fanatical football fans and notoriously cold weather, we were actually blessed with a beautifully sunny Sunday morning on which to run. I say blessed, the day benefitted pre and post from the sunshine, but it made the run even harder.
We were set off running from Newcastle towards South Shields on the east coast of England by the legendary rocker Sting. My friend actually high fived him on the way past the start line, something he was so excited about it probably took at least 5 minutes off his time through increased adrenaline. The first mile was quite electric, all the locals had come out in support of this annual tradition and they were vociferous in their support. We then crossed Newcastle’s most historic landmark, the Tyne Bridge, and running across that along with thousands of other runners is a picture that will live long in the memory. Beyond that, I don’t remember too much of the surrounding scenery or atmosphere. I very much had my head down and was running in my zone, trying to duck and weave through those moving more casually in front of me.
I didn’t have a wrist watch to consult, but I knew I was running at a consistent pace up to around 10 and a half miles. It was then that the heat began to take its toll and I could feel myself becoming weaker. The pace dropped and only picked back up again once we reached the coastline at around 12 miles. We hit a downward hill and the decline convinced my legs to move at a pace they had not experienced at any time before in the race. As I hung a left and started racing along the coastline on the final mile something urged me to keep with that pace, and I began to pound the pavement as if I had only just set out on an 800 metre run. For the first time since the bridge I was conscious of my surroundings, and again the home stretch crowd were cheering enthusiastically. As I crossed the line I felt exhaustion like I had never felt before, I lay on the grass and did not move for at least 20 minutes. My legs had no energy in them at all and my muscles simply did not work any longer, I had left everything I had to offer on the course. I was helped to a massage tent where gradually the power was brought back to my legs and I was able to walk off in search of my 3 friends who had all been running for the same worthy cause as I was.
I had no idea what my time was although I was sure it would be somewhere under 2 hours. I had signed up to an SMS alert service that would send my time to my mobile phone, and it was whilst stood with my friends at the post race rendezvous point that I received a message that told me I had completed the race in 1:38:48, a time that eclipsed my realistic expectations by at least 10 minutes and beat my optimistic ambition by 6 minutes and 12 seconds. The sense of achievement I experienced that day is something I have not felt since I graduated back in 2006.
But it was whilst replenishing energies at the Leukaemia Research charity tent after the race, surrounded by so many people who had all been running on behalf of the charity, I realised the real enormity of what we had achieved. Speaking to my 3 friends, we amassed over £2,500 for the charity (not to mention what the other thousand participants who ran on behalf of Leukaemia Research raised), quite an astonishing total for just four runners and for that you have all played a significant role. The personal achievement is nice but largely irrelevant, the support we can and have provided for this great organisation is the reason I am I am so personally grateful to you all, as is my friend who has such close links to the charity, and as are the good people at Leukaemia Research.

Sincerest thanks again

James Carruthers

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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