Jodie Nesling has raised over £1,600 (!) by running the London Marathon for Oasis. Read her heartwarming and humorous account of the day below.
The London Marathon
I trained in arctic conditions with a body built for writing and drinking but I ran the London Marathon for charity in searing heat - it is one of the best things I have ever done and below is a brief account.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
My mum and sister suggest I should ‘carb up’ so order a massive chinese. A reminder of when one my best friend Genevieve lovingly received a KFC bucket after a horrendous labour: both not advisable but well-intentioned. I don’t feel nervous. Fitness trainer Jason Turner who has broken me with kettle bells has been positive and encouraging, I feel I can take on the world...and a chinese.
I’m sunburnt, emotional and hitting the wall; this is before getting off the train at Stratford. I meet a group of runners on the Jubilee Line. We chat like you never do on the tube: one young woman secured a marathon place through the ballot, she is cheerful and wearing energy gels around her waist like a nightclub shot-girl, she is also wearing a Macmillan sponsorship top. I ask why she is running for a big charity. “My dad died six weeks ago,” she replies and hangs her head so long plaits swing forward. These are the first tears of the day, the first hugs and the first time I think this experience with strangers is a social anomaly that should be celebrated with every fibre of our being.
After about a three-mile walk to the starting pen (cheeky swines!) the melee share anticipation, nerves and camaraderie. I make friends with a giant apple and tell him I have lost my tracker. I glance to see if anyone else has. They haven’t, not even the apple. I reach the starting line at 11am conscious my running mate Mo will be at the halfway point. I step over the line undramatically and start to run. I feel good. This is a piece of piss!
I am head-to-toe in black and the sun beats down without respite. There is no breeze and no shade. I know without checking that this will be the hottest marathon day on record. I can’t cool down. The miles go by and the crowd blare out DnB, hold out banners, cheer my name and high-five as I go past. Somebody manages to get a horse to stand on something and poke its head over a fence. Do I have heat stroke?
More best friends: Kate (who chose to spend her birthday supporting me) and John come into view which is amazing considering I have no tracker. It is immense and gives me a great boost especially after a kid turns to his mother and asks why we are running so slowly, to which she responds, “some of the runners have medical conditions” - mine is ‘journalist who ate chinese before the race and is wearing black.’
Running over Tower Bridge is mesmerising -being part of the bobbing throng of costumes, trainers and sweat at the heart of our beautiful capital is an unforgettable moment... but realising you are only half way is also pretty tough. Docklands follows and is very hard. But again, testament to this race, it is as if by magic, I bump into a friend. The weird thing is I do not see Kirsty at first but recognise the face on the poster she is holding from Facebook (her friend who tragically died of cancer). I look up and see Kirsty, looking impeccable in a summer dress, I wipe all my sweat over her and carry on, she doesn’t mind.
The crowd cheers at every bend and seeing sagging spirits wills them with absolute love and determination: people from every facet of life screaming their hearts out just because they want you to finish a race. It’s ridiculous. There is comedy: a man holds a sign that reads ‘shout if you agreed to do this when you were drunk!’ I shout and he instantly responds ‘of course you did Jodie!’
The atmosphere is insane. I can’t get my head around it.
I see Kate and John again. I am struggling and overheating. A stranger gives me a bottle of water. It is too painful to walk so I keep running, I am exhausted from the heat, my back which gave way before the race, is in agony. I seriously want to give up. Someone offers me a sausage roll (see comments on chinese and KFC.) Three boys give me ice to put on my neck. I want to cry.
At mile 21 a remarkable thing happens: the second wind. I have many of these on drinking benders but never running. The utterly brilliant, brilliant, brilliant (yeah it deserves three) running club, Run Dem Crew are stationed at Whitechapel. They have been there for hours and are partying and shouting names like it is the first five minutes. They are shouting my name. It is immense and then The Proclaimers start to blare out. I think to myself, I will walk 500 miles. I will do that, ok I will…. it carries me. This moment is pivotal, transcendental, second wind, second coming...I am running through it. It isn’t quite ‘runner’s high’ though - I am expecting psychedelia and rainbows with that.
I see my family, they are all hammered outside the Liberty Bell near Tower Hill. I am too tired to stop but it was pure chance. Again. It makes so, so happy but I can’t convey it as I’m broken.
I think it is mile 22 and my heart soars.
The pain in my face is very visible. ““Keep going Jodie, you’re a hero!” Am I? Thank you complete stranger.
I run through, I am finishing the London Marathon and in six hours (which I am pleased with) I am having an out of body experience and I am very confused but I have a medal and I can’t stop looking at it.
I have a beer in the pub. I can’t walk as my legs seized up as I sat next to Nelson’s Column after the race. Friends together with a group of complete strangers give me a standing ovation and I have never felt so proud. My mum looks at me like we have won the lottery.
David Bowie was right, you can be a hero….just for one day.
A great big thanks to all who sponsored (some complete strangers, amazing) and supported me on the day (Kate, John, Mum, Kieron, Kirsty, Lou, Rodders, Megan, Linda..etc) Massive thanks to training legend Jason Turner for always being so proud! And Eddie Gadd, Sue Fisher, Jon Stringer and Phil Leader for Joderunner beer.
It has been a privilege to raise money for families torn apart by domestic abuse but I am never doing this again!