London Marathon drop out

This week I emailed Macmillan Cancer Support and agreed to give up my place in the London Marathon.


It’s not been an easy decision to make, and I’m devastated that I’m letting down everyone who trusted I’d carry out the challenge and sponsored me, but by dropping out now I’m giving another runner the best possible chance of training and fundraising in time to participate in April 2023.


It’s been a long journey. In June 2019 I was invited to join Team Macmillan to run the April 2020 marathon in memory of my Mum. Susan died in 1986, and I would’ve been running the marathon in my 40th year, just a few days before the anniversary of her death. Macmillan did a lot to support us during Mum’s illness, and they’ve been there for others throughout my life, so I was pleased to be able to give something back.


In 2019/20, training was brilliant. I loved going for longer and longer runs, testing my ability and feeling like I could carry on and on. It was a wonderful, empowering feeling. I was also lucky to have Richard beside me for most of it.


Then in early March 2020, a week or so before my 20-mile training run, I slipped in the garden and caught my shin on a paving slab. I switched running for swimming to rest it a bit and all seemed okay. Until the reality of the pandemic hit and the marathon – and then everything else – was cancelled.


I took the opportunity to rest my injured leg, and then I had to rest some more, until eventually in September 2020 I managed to get it looked at. Intensive physiotherapy began. 


The 2020 marathon cohort was given a choice of the next three events to sign up to and I eventually opted for the third, April 2023. This would be the first back at its traditional month; it meant I could train when I’m happiest to run (in the cold); and it would be back in line with my Mum’s anniversary.


I’d gained weight since spring 2020, and lost some fitness, but running was going okay and I was confident in the increased length of my training runs. Even if I couldn’t aspire to my five-hour finish goal, I knew I’d be ready to run 26+ miles.


Then in September 2022, covid finally caught up with me. The infection itself was like flu, but I rested and ate and drank and was relieved when I tested negative. Which is when the trouble started. Food barely stayed inside me and I soon became exhausted. A very kind pharmacist helped with that, but it took time to regain my energy. 


Today, as far as most people are concerned, I’m pretty much back to normal. I tire easily and that occasionally gives me brain fog, but who doesn’t have that from time to time? Only I’m not really back to normal: I can’t run.


My first 5k parkrun (walked), a month after covid, ended with me an exhausted, teary mess. My latest parkruns are completed with more composure, but only because I walk. I’m also relieved to say I can now complete that walk without needing a two-hour nap when I get home. But if I can’t run, I can’t train, and to complete the London Marathon I really need to be able to run for a minimum of 20 minutes by 2nd January. Being realisting I have to admit there’s no way that’s going to happen.


I could hope and keep trying (I will continue to do both those things, one day I will complete the London Marathon), but I’m also aware of my moral responsibility to do my best by the charity. It would be selfish of me to keep the place when someone else could be fundraising and training with more chance of actually being able to take part.


I also have a moral responsibility to my sponsors. Lots of money has been donated to support me completing a challenge I’ve not done, and there’s a cost of living crisis. Having had to swap fundraising platforms, it’s not possible to see all individual donations online, but I have a pdf of all the sponsorship I’ve received. Please email or DM or text me if you would like your sponsorship money returned and I will arrange for that to happen. Alternatively, please be assured all money raised does go to Macmillan Cancer Support, irrespective of my failing.


Finally, thank you again to everyone who has supported, cheered, advised, and generally just been there for me.

Erica x

1 comment:

  1. We'll all be cheering you on when the time is right. x


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