Well the big day has finally been and gone. After almost a year of preparation, I can proudly say that I have ran the London Marathon. If I am being completely honest, I am not sure that it has fully sunk in what a personal achievement it actually was.
I want to start by saying a big thank you for all of your kind wishes and valued prayers over the last month. I feel blessed by all the support I received in such a variety of ways and from such a variety of people; in so many more ways than I could have imagined.
Even after all the preparation that I had put in, those last 6 miles or so were extremely tough. Having family and friends to cheer me on and hearing my name called out thousands of times gave me the mental lift I needed throughout and the day was fantastic from start to finish. My colleagues at JRS were particularly excitable as I passed our three ‘cheer’ points along the route; even if a surprise hug from one colleague at mile 12 nearly led to my downfall. At cheer point 2 (16 miles) I was told how much everyone loves me and by cheer point 3 I’d run 21 miles and could only hear my name and a lot of screaming. It was at this point my race slowed down and I only really got moving well again in the final mile.
The words of encouragement and gestures of good will from such a huge number of people leading up to, and on, the day is what made all the difference.
From the very beginning of my marathon journey I have been inspired by our refugee friends at JRS who we have a mission to accompany, serve and advocate for. Our JRS team has grown in recent years and we can now serve many more refugees and offer much more practical assistance to those we accompany, human beings who find themselves either destitute or detained under immigration rules. I know, without an ounce of doubt, that I could not have achieved all this if I hadn’t been so motivated by witnessing the great work of all the staff and volunteers in my role at JRS, and inspired by the friendships I have made with those we accompany.
Inspired to run the London Marathon in 2020?
Just as the marathon is about my personal goals it is importantly also about raising money for deserving causes. JustGiving sent an email on Monday congratulating me by saying; ‘your JustGiving page was one of the most successful of April – out of 41,042 fundraisers, you were in the top 5%!’ My sponsorship is nearly at £3.5k, which is far beyond any expectations I had, and is really the icing on the cake.
Now that my marathon endeavour is all over I’m feeling a little lost. The May Bank Holiday passed by with no exercise, no smoothies consumed and some old ‘bad’ habits creeping back in to my life! At the very least, I hope to inspire somebody new to run for JRS in 2020. Rest assured that I’ll be screaming encouragement next year from the side of the road just like many thousands of kind people did for me.
THANK YOU ALL FOR SO MUCH
Aidan, and all our runners, ran the London Marathon to raise money for JRS UK. The money donated will help JRS to continue to accompany destitute and detained refugees in a spirit of hospitality, welcome and love.