We’ve been invited to a reception at the House of Lords in October. It’s an event that’s been organised by the MS Trust as a thank you to their fundraisers, and we’ve been invited along because of all that money we raised -- thanks in large part to you guys -- in running the London Marathon (around £7,000, once you factor in Gift Aid). It’s on a Wednesday night during a normal working week, but how do you turn down something like that?
Much to my wife’s amusement and slight irritation, the invitation was addressed to “Mr and Mrs swisslet”. It’s become something of a running joke in our house that, for all that she did brilliantly well to raise all that money and to run a marathon, it will apparently always be me that’s the inspiration in this particular area of our lives. She’s in Paris at the moment and was delighted that her visit coincided with a trip by some of our Viennese friends. Over dinner, apparently, one of the recurring topics of conversation, so my bemused wife told me over the phone later on, was how much of an inspiration I was, and how much adversity I overcame, and how determined I was, etc. etc. etc.
It’s funny. If I thought of myself that way, then at the very least I’d need a good talking to, and probably a good slap…. But instead I find it amusing and ridiculous and baffling and humbling all at the same time.
Coincidentally (or not), the MS Trust have been emailing me this week, dropping hints about how they are now accepting applications for their team to run the 2016 London Marathon. One email thanked me for asking to be kept updated with the latest news from their running club and telling me where to find the application form for a place in their marathon team…. Information that I hadn’t actually requested, but thanks for the hint, guys.
When I crossed the finish line on the Mall in April this year, I was fairly sure that I didn’t want to run another marathon. I was worried about how my body would withstand the training, and although I got through it alright, it totally dominates your life for the best part of six months. Did I really want to go through that again? But before we had even got to the post-race reception, my brain was already beginning to wonder how fast I could do one if I ran on my own. I tried to kill the thought, but it has kept coming back to me, creeping into my head even as I’m slogging my way around a 10 mile run on a Sunday morning and feeling like I'm wading through treacle. Why on earth would I think about running 26.2 miles when I’m struggling to get my pace up over less than half that distance, goodness only knows… but there it is.
In the run-up to the marathon, I had a few sessions of sports massage. After the marathon, I had one last one to loosen out my poor, aching muscles. My massage therapist, on the basis of those four or five sessions, told me that he reckoned that I wasn’t the kind of person who would be happy with just one marathon.
Damn him, but he was right. I knew, deep down, that he was right then... but it's taken me a few months to accept that to myself.
So, here it is: I’m in for 2016 and I’ve formally put in my bid for a gold bond place with the charity.
I feel tired just thinking about it.