We are delighted to congratulate James Madell for raising a grand total of £803.00 for the charity MIND Brentwood, Wandsworth and Westminster by running the London Marathon.
Explore James's narrative on his motivation to participate in the London Marathon and his selection of MIND BWW as the charity to support.
What inspired me to run a marathon?
During my primary school years, I developed an interest in running and eagerly participated in the cross country, unlike others who avoided it. In secondary school, I continued competing in competitions, specializing in 1500m and cross-country events. During one assembly, my sports teachers shared their experience of completing the London marathon. Soon after they spoke to me personally and suggested that I should also consider taking on the challenge in the future. This conversation inspired me to prove to myself and others that I was strong enough both physically and mentally, and I could accomplish this feat.
I enrolled at Exeter University after finishing secondary school, my running routine became sporadic, and I became a casual runner. However, after completing my studies, I made a deliberate choice to prioritize my physical and mental health by engaging in regular exercise. With this in mind, I set myself the goal of running a marathon and became a member of my local running club in Hertford.
Why did I chose to support the Charity MIND?
I believe, mental health is a prevalent issue that affects many young people, including some of my friends and family who have experienced various mental health challenges. Insufficient resources in this area can have a negative impact on individuals’ lives. Therefore, I aimed to raise awareness about mental health and reduce the stigma associated with mental health struggles through my fundraising campaign. Posting regular updates on my social media, the aim was to encourage those who are suffering to speak out and seek the necessary help and support. I believe that creating an environment where people feel comfortable discussing their mental health issues is crucial.
Preparing for a marathon requires significant sacrifice – it’s impossible to wing it; you have to put in the necessary training. This involves dedicating a substantial amount of time and effort. Since January I ran almost four times a week consistently. Even during off-days, I found myself not wanting to do much after long Sunday runs, and my social life was put on the back burner!
Mostly, I found training for the marathon enjoyable, especially noticing the progress I made each week, whether it was running a longer distance or increasing my speed. However, the training became notably challenging when I started running distances exceeding 15 miles. Never having had run such long distances before, it took a toll on my legs. Nevertheless, strengthening my legs was necessary preparation for the marathon. The long runs were typically slow or moderately paced, while the shorter runs focused more on speed or race pace.
The week prior to the marathon the IT band* tightened on my right leg which caused a pull on my knee. I was uncertain if I could even make it to the starting line, let alone complete the race. However, my physiotherapist performed some miracle work, and with the aid of some taping on my leg for support, I decided to push on and participate in the marathon.
*IT band is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the outside of the leg. It starts at the hip and extends to the outer side of the shinbone just below the knee joint. The IT band works with the muscles in your thigh to provide support to the outside of the knee.
Arriving at the London Marathon, the first thing you notice is the electrifying atmosphere! Once I was off there were people lined up along every part of the course, urging you to keep pushing forward. Initially, the adrenaline got to me, and I started with a very quick first mile, but after the second mile, I found a comfortable pace that I could maintain. The various landmarks along the route, including the Cutty Sark were amazing and every time someone shouted my name, it gave me a boost of energy. However, around the mile 10 mark, my knee began to hurt, but I persevered and kept going. Seeing supporters from my running club gave me significant motivation, and I managed to maintain a consistent pace until the last three miles, where I started to slow down.
After giving myself a talking to I dug deep and kept running and didn’t slow down too much, but the last 800m felt like an eternity. Approaching Buckingham Palace, and the finish line was in sight, it registered I was going to achieve my goal of completing a sub 3hr 30min marathon.
After crossing the finish line, there was a tremendous sense of relief and pride – the sacrifice and training had been worth it.
Although I am open to the idea of taking on another physical challenge in the future, I am currently taking some well-earned rest and recovery,
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