Here is Martyn sharing his experience with us:
“It’s fair to say that my Marathon training was less than perfect. I had a sixteen week plan, which was disrupted twice. First I damaged my Achilles and had to rest for five weeks. Then I had twisted my stomach muscle, which took me another three weeks to recover from. This meant I only had half the allocated time to train. When I could get out, I did enjoy making videos to highlight what I was doing and who I was doing it for. With only two weeks to go I hadn’t gone beyond ten miles. However I did not want to risk another injury.
The day itself was an awesome experience. The crowds. The noise. The anticipation really gets you going. I set off with all manner of things in my mind “Don’t start too fast”, “Focus on the mile you’re in”, “Run your own race” and my favourite, which was “Finish line, not finish time!” I felt OK at the start, nothing too bad, nice and steady. I took water at each stop and only had a couple of sips (as per advice) but it’s amazing how so little water makes you want to visit the loo so much!! 🙂 So I stopped at virtually every toilet stop on the way.
6.5 Miles in is the Cutty Sark. The crowd there is loud. I still felt fine and I was thinking, this is virtually 25%. But not long after that my muscles were burning and I started to struggle coming up to 8 Miles.
Just after Mile 9, my left calf went and it was horrid. I tried to stretch it, but it was agony. Part of me thought, ‘You’re not even halfway, so find a medical tent and stop’. But then I thought about the video I’d seen from the Rainbow Centre. In this video Eniko (one of the staff) said, they were asking the children to do something every day, which was like the equivalent of them asking her to climb Kilimanjaro. It really kept me moving forward, as I was only doing this for one day.
At Tower Bridge I tried a mini slow jog over it – perhaps I knew the cameras were there! – and then I crossed it and turned right and saw the halfway marker. There’s a board with messages for the runners and I had some – once again it kept me going. This was the longest homeward stretch, but I thought I just had to finish now no matter what.
After that point the crowds are smaller, but equally raucous. Singing “Sweet Caroline” at a pub on route with all those people was great. That bit seems to go on forever, with my calves burning I could feel the blisters on my toes and heels – I think mainly due to the rain earlier in the day. It certainly wasn’t because I was going too fast.
At Mile 21 I needed some treatment and they asked if I needed to stop. Not a chance was I going to stop now. I kept thinking of the kids at The Rainbow Centre and all of those people who had sponsored me – I didn’t want to short change anyone. The last 2 miles was mainly stragglers, so more and more of the crowd, who could see my name on my vest, were encouraging me. The crowd really are fantastic.
With just the 385 yards to go, I was cursing Queen Alexandra – I could have finished already!! I was limping and devoid of energy, but the grandstand crowd all chant for you and there’s another board with messages. I was in absolute zombie mode and really emotional.
When I crossed the finish line I checked three times that it was over and then collapsed on the floor, shattered and in agony. After a little bit of medical, I got my medal and t-shirt.
I’m so pleased to have done it and very thankful to the Rainbow Centre for giving me the opportunity to take part in something so incredibly iconic, but just like Sir Mo Farah, that’s my last London Marathon. One and Done!
My favourite part of all though was to go in and visit the Centre afterwards and to have a picture taken with the children and staff. I know that the near £2000 that I raised will really help them and that, for me, made every step of the Marathon worthwhile.
Perhaps my experience will inspire others to get off the sofa and raise some funds for this amazing charity.”
The Rainbow Centre is a Fareham-based charity supporting people across the Wessex region with neurological conditions including Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke and other acquired brain injuries. As a non-governmentally funded organisation, they are dependent on the generosity and fundraising endeavours of their brilliant community which help to fund the neuro-rehabilitation provided by the Centre.
The Rainbow Centre had eight amazing London Marathon runners who collectively raised over £10,000.