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My London Marathon – Carla Gill

Running the London Marathon was a childhood dream. I knew it would be incredible but I wasn’t quite prepared for how incredible it was going to be, and part of that was made by running for Challengers at part of #TeamOrange.  

When we started out on our marathon journey, we were a group of strangers with just two things in common – a passion for Challengers and our desire to run this iconic event. 

As the London Marathon was approaching and it started to dawn on us all the huge challenge we were about to undertake, Challengers hosted a Pasta Party and brought us all together. We shared our experiences and stories, leaving no dry eyes in the house. It was clear this was a big deal for everyone, and that we all shared in our passion for the experience and wanting to give back to an amazing cause. 

You get told a lot about how the crowd will carry you through, but until I was there I didn’t understand how amazing it would be to have thousands of people willing you on. At the start there were people in their pyjamas having breakfast on their drives whilst cheering, people on their balcony playing music and the runners singing and dancing along, the bands and musicians dotted along the whole way, the charity cheer points, and friends and family of supporters clapping and calling your name. It was non-stop joy and kept everyone going.

From mile 20, it starts to get tough. Another long 6.2 miles to go and your body is starting to shout at you, but you’ve just got to keep going. I kept in my mind that Challengers would be at mile 21 – ‘just keep running’.

As I turned the corner and down a long straight I could see the sea of orange at the end of the road, and from nowhere I found a boost of energy that catapulted me towards them.

It felt like being reunited with long lost family at the airport. I gave them everyone a sweaty hug and told them I loved them! Seeing their faces and feeling their support was the boost I needed to get me to the finish line. The countdown to the last few miles was on, and I was going to make it! 

I wanted to soak up every last moment of this incredible experience. As much as I wanted to stop running, I didn’t want it to be over, and as I crossed the finish line of the London Marathon a huge wave of emotion came over me. 

Although my body is aching and I cannot walk straight at present*, I could not be happier. I’m running so high on the adrenaline of the day and feel so proud of what I’ve achieved. I have loved being part of #TeamOrange and everything that meant through my journey to get here. 

If you have ever thought about doing the London Marathon, don’t hold back, next year could be your year! I promise you will not regret it. In fact, I’ve already signed up for the ballot for 2022, will you run with me?
Apply to run for Challengers in 2022!

*Written the day after completing the London Marathon 2021