Tuesday 16 April 2013

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

It now seems a very distant and other-world in which seven people, brought together by the most terrible personal tragedy, sat around a patio table by the banks of the Thames and agreed that they would run the marathon in honour of the amazing friend they had just lost. It feels equally surreal knowing that this is the last week of the resulting adventure.
So much has happened since those pledges were made: seven became fifteen, it all started to get quite complicated and then it all became extraordinarily serious. It is not an exaggeration, or to speak out of turn to say that TEAM! has changed every one of us; this adventure, borne from heartbreak, has left an indelible legacy of personal achievement and of pride that we have done our best for our friend, sister, cousin, colleague and partner. This was for Emily, it was also for us.

2/3rds of TEAM! January 2013
Of course we all still have a marathon to run, but in a TEAM! email this week, Elliot rightly acknowledged that the honour and the praise would be better given, not for the marathon, but for the uncountable and unknowable multitude of personal battles, trials, tribulations and efforts which have taken place silently, diligently and humbly, over the last 6 months.
It is from these selfless endeavours that TEAM! has been forged, muscles built and money raised, and if anything should be lauded, then it should be the indefatigable effort inherent in months on months of running schedules, the stretching, the strength work, the cross training, the constant search for donators and donations, the discipline and the resolve to do all these things and to do them properly. 
It is truly for these things that each member of TEAM! should be lionised.

But we do still have a marathon to run. For Alison and I, the good news is that after 6 months and and over 150 training sessions, the torrent of running has subsided to a mere burble. The bad news is that since tapering, Alison has been to both a doctor and a dentist in order to clear up a mystery infection that has caused her cervical lymph nodes to blow up like little, unhappy balloons - and just to clear up any confusion, the cervical lymph nodes are - rather misleadingly - the ones in your neck.
Alison is now mid way through a course of antibiotic/paracetamol cocktails and fortunately, the combination of the two appear to be working. The two positives are that there is very little training to miss and that the doctor wished her good luck in the marathon!
For myself, as for a lot of people, the last year has been a true tempest and today I feel that I am in the eye of the storm. All the  effort, vision, work, pain, anguish, moments of celebration, the satisfaction of achievement, and the tears have been leading to this Sunday. I can do no more; I have done everything I can and I have left nothing in my heart or on the road. That is what I said I would do on that patio in May 2012 and for that I am proud. 
However, every member of TEAM! should be proud: from the outset, we had a goal of raising over £30,000 for Diabetes UK and although we have not finished fundraising, as of tonight, including Gift Aid, TEAM! has raised an astounding £30,004.25. 
My only wish now is for TEAM! to stand in Blackheath on Sunday morning in good health, and for each to run the races they deserve. The marathon will be a true challenge and a reward and certainly parts of Sunday will undoubtedly be the worst of times, but there will be others, which will just as assuredly be the best.

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