In the new year, I signed up for the East London Half Marathon, to be held on 14 April. It was 13.2 miles; the farthest I’ve ever run. I started volunteering in the office of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) when the DSEI arms fair came to East London in 2011, so with the arms dealers returning this autumn and some exciting plans afoot to disrupt the 2013 DSEI arms fair, it seemed appropriate to be raising money and running in the East End.
I was very excited, and spent most of February and March running around Hackney in thermal running tights, and enthusiastically describing new knee stretches I’d learnt to my friends in the pub. (They were not impressed.)
In my head, I was a running super hero, an athlete, and destined for sporting greatness. Or at the very least, destined for a souvenir T-shirt.
Laid low by flu
Then I got flu. I spent the week before the race off work, in bed, getting dizzy every time I stood up. Race day dawned sunny, cool and clear – perfect running weather. I couldn’t even make it out of bed to the start line to cheer for my friends who were running. I was pretty upset.
I rang my mum to moan, and while I was talking to her I had an idea. Why waste all that training? I had a running bib with my name on it. I didn’t need a race – I could (probably) run 13 miles. I would just run my own half marathon!
That’s how I came to be running down Old Street one Saturday morning in May, headphones on, race number pinned to my chest, dodging trendy shoppers and looking very much like I’d got horribly, horribly lost.
But I did it, in 2 hours and 8 minutes – including the bit where I got lost in Clapton and ran an extra half mile. My friends were wonderful, and made banners and a finish line out of loo roll for me.
I’m not stopping at a half marathon. On October 6th, I’ll be running in the Bournemouth Marathon. It’s my biggest challenge yet, and I’m hoping to raise even more money for CAAT. I am passionate about the work they do and I am running to help end the UK’s role as one of the world’s largest arms exporters.
I’m not sure how threatened BAE systems will be by my thermal running tights alone though, so it would be great if you could please sponsor me. In 2012 I raised £1,448 for CAAT, and I hope to raise even more this year.