Proof of just how powerful sport can be, Bubble contributor, Georgia Vinall, articulates how watching the London Marathon has inspired her to replicate those who completed that iconic 26.2 mile course on Sunday.
More than 40,000 people embarked on the demanding London Marathon. I, being not only awed by London’s many landmarks, but also being a keen runner, tuned in to watch the event from the comfort of my own home.
I had returned to University with mixed feelings: excited to be reunited with my friends after a five-week break, emotional about the upcoming final weeks of my first year, and anxiously dreading my impending examinations. However, during the hours of the Marathon, those feelings were forgotten. What I experienced instead was open-mouthed astonishment, a renewed motivation, and simple inspiration.
It is not only the sheer physical difficulty of enduring such a tiresome race that is astonishing about the Marathon – the first moment of which came when Daniel Wanjiru crossed the line with a time of just 2 hours, 5 minutes and 48 seconds – but also the achievements of many who were not involved in one of Sunday’s ‘elite races’.
Take, for example, Garry McKee, the man running 100 marathons in 100 days. Or Ruby Riley, running to raise money for mental health charity MIND, who, after becoming over-pressurised by exams, developed an eating disorder. She transformed an unhealthy relationship with exercise into a self-defined ‘celebration of her body’. Only two days before his 62nd birthday, Chris Arthey became the first knee amputee to complete the Marathon.
One man even plucked up the courage at mile 11 to ask his girlfriend of five years to become his wife, which she duly accepted!
Most touching for me, however, was a 2002 short clip of Jane Tomlinson, who was terminally ill with breast cancer. Mrs Tomlinson ran, as she said smiling to the camera, to show that regardless of such a condition, it is possible to have goals and to realise them “even if it seems a little impossible”. She has sadly passed away since, but this year the Jane Tomlinson appeal was represented by runner Carole McDonald, showing that her legacy lives on.
This not only put my life into perspective, but immediately spurred me on. Even if I wasn’t a keen runner, I think I’d have been throwing on a pair of trainers and burst out of the door to go for a jog. The efforts and stories of the runners were incredible, but so was the ethos of the day. Participants eagerly stopped for interviews along the way – showing that the time on the clock was not the priority for them. The BBC repeatedly encouraged spectators to engage in exercise, as well as with the causes that were being represented throughout the event.
I would urge anyone who missed the excitement of the action to look up some footage or stories, and, you never know, something may just touch you. I was in need of a gentle push to kick-start my revision period, and I sure got it. The Marathon not only inspires running and fitness, but a healthy attitude towards life and our goals. I have a new goal: to, one day, run the Marathon. What will your goal be?
For more information about how finding a club/ sport near you, and to ensure that you too can experience the many physical, psychological, and social benefits of exercise, please visit the BBC’s Get Inspired page by clicking on the link below: