Thursday 21 April 2011

15 minutes of fame

Well cor blimey luv a duck guvnor! Yesterday was quite an interesting day as you may have noticed. I was woken up at about 5:30 am by a very excited Jen (I have no idea how long she had been up for!) to tell me my story had been picked up by the Daily Mirror. I think that I may have been more excited a few hours later, and it occurs to me I have been up before 6 every day since I got back! Oh well, who needs sleep eh?

Things kind of continued in this vein for the rest of the day. Texts to tell me I had been talked about on BBC breakfast by Bill and Sian, a phone call from a very excited mother to tell me I had been one of the stories on Head-to-Headlines on Chris Evans' Radio 2 breakfast show (winning Johnny a slam dunk against Moira no less!), messages from friends in London to tell me I was in the Metro, and a quick search to also find stories in the Sun and the Daily Star (alongside Susan Boyle no less... ahem). By the evening, the story had been picked up by Fox News (making me a corporate sellout as my friend Alex pointed out) and Eurosport, as well as being discussed in various forums and blogs (my favourite one assigning me the honorary title of the Emperor of the Land of Baddassery - I'm keeping that one!). And that's not counting the local coverage, including a video in the Cambridge News (starring my beautiful fiancee Jen), and articles in the Cambridge News and Hunts Post.

I've been frankly staggered by all of this. I'm not under any delusion that running home after a marathon is a "normal" thing to do, but I honestly didn't think that it was that impressive. Especially since I have been trying to get people interested in it for the past few months and, other than the local press who have been fantastic, people just didn't seem interested. I suspect that maybe people thought it was all talk - clearly they don't know me!

Depending on where you read about things, I have noticed that the numbers are different. Just to be entirely transparent, I have just clarified a few things below. Hope this clears a few things up!

  • The official marathon time was 3:47:45. At the time of the interviews, the official chip times hadn't been published so I had to rely on the time shown by my Garmin. Since I didn't stop the watch when I went through the line (still had a way to go...), I only got a glance that it was about 3:45, which is where this time came from. I'm sure you can forgive me a couple of minutes!
  • The total distance covered was actually about 120 miles, not 125. Not sure where that number came from (and thus the magical "99 miles home"), but again I hope that you will forgive me for a few miles.
  • When I planned things I used Google Earth to measure the distance, which came to 112 miles. Obviously this was never going to be exactly accurate. The extra 8 miles are a combination of taking wrong turns and back-tracking, and also I was never going to take the exact route as measured so weaving around had an effect (for instance, the marathon was actually 26.58 miles from start to finish for me due to weaving around the racing line).
  • The total time, from the gun going at the London marathon to crossing the finish at St. Ives, was pretty much 29 hours dead (give or take a couple of minutes). This averages as 14.5 mins/mile, but actually this isn't accurate. After finishing the marathon, it took longer than I expected to get going through London again, due to having to collect everybody I was meeting, change my running gear, restock, etc, then actually negotiating the foot traffic around the finishing line was a nightmare! We probably lost at least an hour here. Also, the checkpoints ended up taking longer than anticipated, due to having to change socks more often than anticipated (due to dew... heh), blogging, finding it difficult to force food down my throat, chatting, doing bits to the camera, etc. So I probably lost about 20 - 30 minutes at each checkpoint, and since there were about 12 this was a pretty significant chunk of time. Don't forget, this wasn't a race! When I was actually moving, I was generally going at about 11.5 mins/mile, and only really walked the hills. I'll be interested to see what happens in my first real ultra-marathon, but I think I can probably get a good time. Now I know I can do the distance, I can concentrate on an actual time for my next attempt.
But anyway, again, this wasn't a race. It was something to get show that I could do it, and not let epilepsy get in the way. And the main point has always been to get as much coverage as possible for the Epilepsy Society, which is exactly what has happened. And that is, in the quite literal sense, awesome. It's getting people to talk about something that generally doesn't get mentioned enough. Would you know what to do if somebody had an epileptic fit? No? Exactly. It's been incredibly humbling to have been contacted directly by other sufferers, and I'm very proud that what I have done has resonated with people in such a way. As one amazing young girl told me, "I may have epilepsy, but epilepsy does not have me", which is a lot more inspirational than any little run I could ever think of.

1 comment:

  1. Shave 2 minutes off the time, add 5 miles to the distance, no wonder this got picked up by Fox News...


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