It's been a month now since I ran the marathon and I’m still buzzing from my achievement, something that I have wanted to do for the last 20 or so years. 
Having never got in via the ballet I decided to run it for a charity which I had initially wanted to avoid for fear of the additional pressure of raising a set amount of money. However, I found a place running for children with cancer UK, the only fundraising commitment be that I raise as much as I could, in addition to that, a colleagues home situation made this charity more relevant than ever! The buzz of having completed the marathon was compounded by the fact that I also raised over £1600 for this brilliant charity. What a great feeling it gave me. 
Reflecting on the experience, the day itself was a reminder that many things are still good about the world. My family walked me to start enclosure, after their collective anxiety about what time to set off and the best route to take to Greenwich Park. 
Headed for the blue enclosure to the far side of Greenwich Park, we could hear the legendary Mr Motivator, motivating the runners in his own inimitable style. There were people dressed as poos, ovaries, rhinos. One man had an ironing board and a washing line stuck to his back. I saw a blind man preparing to run with his daughter as his guide, women ringing their Mum’s to tell them it was about to start, I even saw one woman enjoying a quick vape before we set off. I could see Jill Scott on the big screen high-fiving people as they left the start line (I love Jill Scott and was looking forward to my high-five and was gutted she had gone by the time I got there). 
I stood on my own soaking it all up, the words of Matt Dass like a mantra in my head, ‘you will never run your first marathon ever again so make sure you enjoy very moment’. After months of training, soreness a lost toe nail and various pairs of trainers, I was finally at the start line of the London Marathon 2022 and I couldn’t believe it. 
The crowds along the route were so encouraging. There was so much music, brass bands, orchestras, drummers, indie bands, dance bands. There were masses of strangers shouting us all on to keep going. One lady running next to me was called Eileen (imagine how tedious that was – Come on Eileen). My own family managed to cheer me on at 4 different sites along the route and managed 20,000 steps themselves that day. There were old ladies holding out tubs of sweets. The teams at the water stations, shining and smiling and my very good friends made their way from Hull to Tower Bridge to scream my name before they headed back to Hull on the train. 
Its easier to ignore that pain that seemed to penetrate every part of my body from mile 17 onwards with all this going on. Running around Garton, Fitling and Elstonwick is quite pretty but very boring at times. 
Getting across the finish line in front of Buckingham Palace, running down The Mall, is one of the best moments I’ve had in my life, overcome with emotion – I did it! I can do hard things too and I can achieve anything I want. 
Now its over, I continue with my running but there is a bit of a gap, I need a goal. Which leaves only one question…what next? 
Thank you to everyone that supported me, it could not have happened without you. I will be forever grateful. 
Sally Wray 23-10-22. 
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