Blog: RfH marathon run

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Dean Ellison has sent the final instalment of his New York Marathon diary, which here talks about the race itself. He raised well over £1000 for Riders for Health, with more donations due, which will keep a health worker on the road in Africa for a year.

Well it is finally over, on Sunday the 5th November I took part in my first 26.2-mile running race and it just happened to be the biggest and most prestigious race in the world, the ING New York City Marathon.

The race incorporates all 5 boroughs of New York and it all started at a toll booth for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, linking Staten Island to Brooklyn. From there we ran through Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and finally into Manhattan, where we finished in Central Park.

For those of you who don’t know, I had planned to run the marathon approximately 18 months ago and I was aiming to complete the distance in as close to 2 hours 45 minutes as possible.

It was all looking good until a racing injury put my legs out of action for around 6 weeks and I couldn’t run for over 4 months after, this left me with 4 weeks to prepare from scratch and I ran twice a day for 3 weeks, 1 long run at the weekends and the last week I had complete rest as my injured leg was really painful.

After a 3.30am wake-up call I had to catch one of the 1000 buses that would do around 40 journeys each to the Staten Island start and once there it was the longest, coldest wait I have ever had.

All of the experienced runners had ground sheets, sleeping bags and really warm clothes but my group had not planned far enough ahead and hanging around between 5am and the 10am start was pretty unpleasant, it was so cold some of the vehicles had ice on the windscreen.

At 9am, still cold I lined up in the number 1 pen with the elite runners of the world and any thoughts of walking if my legs became too painful were erased from my mind, I was in at the deep end and I wanted to give it my best shot.

At 9.50am we were taken down to the start line where 38,500 runners were about to push themselves to the limit and at around 10.10am huge cannon-ball explosion started the race and it was just like any race start, pushing, pulling, shouting and in the scheme of things it wouldn’t make any difference to the overall time after 26.2 miles of running but I still did my fair share as it was a great buzz.

The first two miles were actually on the bridge which is the 2nd largest suspension bridge in the world and it was really quiet, except for the sound of stomping feet and heavy breathing, then as we went off the slip road and in to the urban area it all changed.

Across the whole of the route it was a constant party for the spectators and the volunteers, over 2.5 million people lined the streets and really helped the miles tick away, there were drink stations every mile, families were bringing water, fruit and jelly sweets to the side and live bands were pretty much at every other mile.

For the first part of the race I kept it really steady, I still wanted to finish well but at the same time I didn’t want to fail while trying to be a hero.

By the half marathon distance I was on schedule for a possible sub 3 hour but I definitely felt that I could do it in 3 hours and I started to relax my legs and lengthen my stride and slowly upped my pace, but at around 16 miles my injured knee was becoming painful and I had to slow down again, then at about 18 miles my knee felt shot to pieces and I had to slow it right down, I was just left with no strength in it at all. Quality bikes for sale: Click here.

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I plodded along until the 25 mile marker and then for the last 1.2 miles I ran as fast as I could and crossed the line in 3 hours and 23 minutes, this is way off my original aim but I completed the event and I hope it raises a lot of money for the Riders for Health charity, which is still open for support and all donations can be made on line

Also taking part was my girlfriend Susie, who did the whole race in fancy dress and two of my friends, Emma Horner-Glister and James Moore who only started running around 12 months ago and they both finished in good times.

In all we have raised about £8000 for, Barnardo’s Children’s Charity, the Parkinson’s Disease Society, NSPCC and the British Heart Foundation so it was well worth the effort and the blistered feet!

We have stayed out for a few extra days to see the sights and even four days after the event I still have to hold on to the hand rail to walk up and down stairs and my knee is now hyper extending when I walk!

I know pain is only temporary, but the aid the Riders for Health Charity gives is ongoing and invaluable so come on guys please give generously!”

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff