One of our runners Matt Popplewell prepared this report after running the London Marathon on behalf of the Circulation Foundation:
Reasons why I ran
In November 2016 I offered to participate in the London Marathon on behalf of the Circulation Foundation. I have been involved with the charity since November 2015 as the Rouleaux club representative and have a great passion for vascular research and the potential benefits to patients and clinicians. Currently I am a Vascular Trainee at ST3 level in the West Midlands Deanery. Fundraising for the charity will hopefully provide some much needed funds to continue the Circulation Foundation’s work in providing support to patients and start up grants for trainees and consultants who are looking to produce high quality research. With rising costs in the NHS I feel that research is becoming ever more important to define cost effective strategies to provide our patients with the best possible care. On a personal level it has been my ambition to complete the marathon having finished a mountain marathon 2 years ago.
Preparation and the race
I started training for the Marathon on January the 2nd 2017 (New Years resolution!) and managed to run three to four times per week at varying distances. I tried to do a fast short run, medium pace and distance and a long run at my “marathon pace” during the week. My goals for the race were to raise £1000 for the Circulation Foundation and complete the marathon in under 4 hours. Training was immensely difficult during the winter months due to it getting dark early and the cold. Most days I was training after 8pm in the evening after getting in from work and shuffling sessions around on calls and night shifts was tough at times! Preparation was going well until 3 weeks before the race when I developed an infected blister on my left foot from over training which meant 10 days off but luckily most of the hard training had been done. My friends and family were all pulling together to help with the sponsorship which was slowly, but surely creeping towards my goal.
At race day I was just short of my sponsorship target but was feeling positive and ready for the run ahead. The weather on race day was fantastic, beautiful sunshine. The atmosphere was pulsating at the start zone, with thousands of runners making their final preparations. I bumped into a colleague Mike here who was also running for the CF and sneaked an obligatory pre-race photo!
Queuing for the start was nerve jangling as I didn’t want to let the charity down and I wanted to make sure I finished the race and didn’t overdo it at the start due to the adrenaline. When the race finally kicked off the atmosphere was unbelievable, for approximately 90% of the course the streets were lined with people 2-3 rows deep on either side of the road shouting their support and offering various sweets! This definitely spurred me and the other runners on. My times per Km were fairly consistent and at the 35km mark I had been running for around 3 hours 10 mins.
Nervously looking at my sports watch I knew a sub 4 hour time was well within reach and felt good at this point. 1km later I “hit the wall” which is horrendous. I had to slow up by a water station and refuel and managed to get going again but my race pace dropped significantly. This is when the real mental battle started, every muscle was telling me to stop but I couldn’t let anybody down now. The thought of not finishing and letting the charity, my family and myself down really pushed me on and I vaguely remember muttering “you can do this” multiple times over.
My family were waiting at 41km near the finish, I ran across and waved then caught a sports recovery gel tossed in my direction. After gulping this I knew the end was in sight and pushed steadily towards the finish.
I managed to cross the line in 03:55:51, just making my sub 4 hour target. At this point my body was a wreck and for a reason I can’t explain a wave of emotion came over me and I burst into tears. It was probably relief that I had finished!
After collecting my medal I had a finishers photo taken, I felt extremely proud to have run for the Circulation Foundation and wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again. Since finishing the race I have now met the £1000 target and I hope the funds raised make a real difference!
What a fabulous effort Matt. Thank you from everyone at the Circulation Foundation