Sunday was possibly the best…and worst day of my life. I ran the Virgin Money London Marathon for CLIC Sargent, a charity very important to a close friend of mine. It was an incredible day, and an experience that will last a lifetime, but was probably the most painful day of my life.

My time was not impressive, but it was never about that. I wanted to help raise some money for a great cause, and if I had to suffer, so be it.  

Between them, the sponsors of the event, Virgin Money, Lucozade, Buxton and London Pride and many others make it as easy as possible for the thousands of runners and spectators to enjoy a magical day. Without their support this event wouldn’t be able to help raise millions of pounds for dozens of fantastic charities each year. My only criticism is that I wish London Pride were also giving out free drinks every couple miles.

No matter your age or ability, the Marathon is a brutal day. You hear people talk about ‘the wall’ but there genuinely does come a point where you can barely lift your legs, you question why you ever signed up, but you try and power through. I will never forget coming across Tower Bridge to be greeted by thousands cheering and urging me on. I savoured every painful step for 26.2 miles, stopping to high five strangers, looking at the weird and wonderful costumes surrounding me.

I was amazed by the bonds that complete strangers can make over the length of the course, it not a race it is group therapy.

When Batman fell to his knees by the finish people stopped to try and help him over the line, he had come too far to give up now. In the last couple of miles I came across a woman running for the same charity as me, she had slowed to a walk. I stopped and walked alongside her as we shared our stories. Neither of us cared about a time, we just wanted to cross that line, no matter what. For half an hour we were old friends, laughing and joking to try and forget the pain in our legs. Together we summoned enough energy to jog the last mile and crossed the line together. I doubt I will ever see Julie again, but the experience we shared will last a lifetime. As one particularly poignant sign when I was at my lowest said “Pain is temporary, Memories last forever”.

If you would like to donate to CLIC Sargent you can do so via my sponsor page:  www.justgiving.com/Charlie-Young00

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