At around about the same time as I committed to the MS Trust that I would run the marathon for them again, I stumbled across something from the London Marathon team. I can't remember if it was an email, on their website or in their magazine or what... but they were asking for people to put themselves forward to be one of their official bloggers.
I actually applied for this last year, but clearly nothing came of it. I can remember looking at the six people they had chosen, although I didn't subsequently look at any of their posts because I didn't really think anything more about it.
I applied again.
They ask you to put down a few details about yourself and to say why you think you should be picked. Here's what I put:
"I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009, four years after first developing symptoms. MS is a chronic, incurable condition that it affects people in all sorts of insidious ways....but I want everyone to know that a diagnosis doesn't have to be the end of life as you know it; I want to challenge people's preconceptions of what the condition is and what it means for the people who have it. When you receive news like that, you have a choice: you can either wallow and mope about the things you’ve lost and can no longer do, or you can get on with life and focus on what you can do. In 2012, I was reduced to running 3 miles a week because of issues related to my MS and thought my running days were over. Three years later, I ran my first marathon with my wife at London in 2015 (raising £7200 for the MS Trust). I’m doing the whole thing again in 2016. I've been lucky with how MS has affected me, as I can see by looking around in the waiting room of every clinic I attend, but a marathon is still a massive, exhausting challenge... but that's true for every single person who runs one. Come along on the journey with me as I stumble and curse my way through the long, lonely miles to the starting line. I’ve been blogging since 2004, and I’d be delighted to share my journey on the London Marathon website!"
Nothing you haven't heard before, right?
I mailed it off and put it out of my mind. Earlier this week, I got an email out of the blue telling me that I was one of the people selected to blog the 2016 London Marathon. Out of 50,000 people with entries, I was one of six chosen. The email pointed me at last year's blogs, to have a look at their profiles and to use them as a model to for one I needed to write and send back in. Looking at them now, it looks as though they didn't have much luck.... I don't think a single one of them blogged about the actual race, and a couple of them didn't manage to put up an entry beyond January. Perhaps one of the key reasons for my selection is that, if I'm anything, I've got ten year long track record of regularly putting up blog posts!
I don't think they actually want very much: probably about three posts between the end of February and the event itself, and one afterwards to say how it went. In return, as well as the obvious opportunity to stoke my own ego, I get to boost the profile of the MS Trust and to float our sponsorship link in front of a few more people and hope that some of them bite and make a donation. It can't hurt, anyway.
Apparently I'm also going to get a boatload of free London Marathon Adidas training kit and running shoes, and a bunch of stuff from Lucozade. Expect pictures of me kitted out even more like a total tool than normal, and expect a load of repetition of shit I've written about on here so often that you could probably recite it back in your sleep.
I'm going skiing on Saturday, so I'm actually going to leave my trainers behind for a week. Before then though, I've taken the day off work tomorrow so that I can squeeze in an 18 mile run. I don't think this is the kind of day off that my younger self quite imagined. I might get a haircut too.