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  • Writer's pictureFishing for Schools

Marathon misery for Director of Fishing for Schools, Charles Jardine

There is a degree of “Groundhog Day” complacency; well perhaps not complacency, more perfunctory ‘oh you are doing that again’ syndrome that seems to now creep into people’s eyes and thoughts, when you mention you are doing a marathon.

Believe me, doing a marathon is NOT easy. It isn’t a whim, and it is not, if you are somewhat below the standard of a Radcliffe or Kipchoge, plain sailing. It’s guts, graft, and training.

So having a week to prepare for a marathon is not ideal. Not ideal, at all.

Yes I run, I do quite a lot of running with my lovely Yeovil Road Running club but a marathon is SO different.

With a place allocated (and I had forgotten), the race number tumbled from the letterbox to the floor a precise week and two days before Sunday 3rd October. Stupidly I thought: “Oh! What can possibly go wrong, I have done the distance before…”

So, as it was a Virtual, I thought to myself, don’t be an idiot and try and do this on your own, find a marathon locally and join.

So, I joined the Clarendon Marathon between Salisbury and Winchester – an area I love and know well, but not well enough it seems.

04.00 dawned (well it didn’t, it was pitch black) and with everything assembled, off I set to Winchester to drop my car off, get a bus to the start in Salisbury and in my head a predicted time of around five and a bit hours - I was carrying injury (Achilles) but I reckoned the distance was doable.

The event is just breathtakingly well organised; from the greeting on the bus, to the free banana (I hate them but it’s the thought that counts), to the registration point. It was all exemplary.

So, I started the marathon.

To support the heroic efforts of Charles, all in aid of Fishing for Schools and Castaway, please visit his Just Giving page here.

The hills undulated, the breath-taking scenery rolled past, as did the miles. I even uttered those portentous words “I think I‘ve got this” in my head.

I actually felt good. I could feel my Achilles, but not alarmingly so, (it was bound better than any Egyptian mummy) and I was running well at a steady 10-minute mile. I knew that would drop away, but initially it was good.

Even at the halfway stage my old village of Broughton, I was still feeling good. More miles (tiring ones) rolled past and I too was getting tired. The terrain not easy but still the miles ticked on by.

Then I crossed the Test just before Kings Somborne and everything went wrong. Everything.

I wobbled, felt nauseous, stomach cramped and just felt utterly spent. It was that sudden.

Luckily, one of the extraordinary marshals – Roger – was close by, and advised I sat down and took on fluid. Afterwards I felt marginally better and elected to try and continue. Idiot!

Mile 18 ¾ (19 is always my nemesis) had done for me yet again. Up the hill I tried… I managed to go about 200 or so yards, staggered and then helped back to the marshal by two exceptionally kind lady runners. Weirdly the muscles were just spasming in my left leg like a coffee percolator - I really could not carry on.

I never give up, never. On this occasion, I simply had to stare that bitter beast in the face and just throw in the metaphoric towel. It was one of the hardest, most depressing things I have ever done. I don’t ‘do’ failure. But I had failed.

However, what this race and any Marathon demonstrates, is the kindness of others. People know and share you pain and frustration. The lady doctor who took my vitals, the Marshal, the fellow runners who unselfishly carried me, and the huge groundswell of support thereafter.

So, if you think a marathon is easy, think again. And when we urge support for the causes we believe in and ask you to help us through the various barriers along the 26 or so miles with your donations, please realise that you are supporting human spirit, kindness and that indomitable belief to go beyond reason and pain.

Will I do it again next year?

Bet your damn life on it and I will finish, too.

Charles Jardine

Director and Founder of Fishing for Schools

To support the heroic efforts of Charles, all in aid of Fishing for Schools and Castaway, please visit his Just Giving page here.


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