Another man's perspective

That's the incredible thing about the marathon, everybody involved has a completely unique experience - be it good or bad, it is almost certainly intense. I think Charlie Dark - head honcho of the Run Dem Crew, explains his marathon experience really beautifully, so I've re-posted it here. 

Thoughts, feeling and musings from the heads at RDC Headquarters.

The Long Run Home

Monday 18 April 2011
Mile 24 courtesy Of Dom and the crew

And so as my legs recover and my body comes to terms with itself again I sit here in RDC Hq and contemplate the achievements of the past 48 hours. The London marathon has been a thorn in the side of many a runner since it’s inception 30 years ago and I for one have continually made promises to tick it off the list one day. As I sit here with my medal around my neck and think back to what I have learnt about myself on those tough 26 miles the following thoughts have entered my mind.

If you ever needed friends then you really need them when navigating the challenge of the marathon. With that amount of people cheering you along the faces become a blur but a familiar face can really lift the spirits when needed most. Knowing there were a bunch of RDC heads at mile 17 really spurned me on. And it was a special moment to see the rainbow and running men above the heads of the crowd. But its mile 24 that I really want to talk about.

Without question this is the most training I have done for any marathon and the benefits were definitely reaped earlier in the year at the Paris and New York halves but come mile 20 the wheels started to come off. Struggling through to mile 24 I hit the Blackfriars tunnel with a heavy heart and body of lead thinking that maybe I wouldn’t finish. Seeing a man drop to the floor in front of me obviously didn’t help and in the dark of the tunnel my mind started to play tricks on me.

Emerging into the sun light my thoughts were on survival but seeing Dom and the crew at the mile marker sent tumbles through the heart. Knowing your friends have stood in the street for 4 hours just to catch a glimpse of you will make even the most crippled body carry on towards the end and the smile that Harriet gave me will stay with me forever. Strangely enough as I hobbled past all I could think was isn’t her hair really blonde and doesn’t Dom have nice glasses.

I will take this time to thank Dom for making eye contact and giving me the look that sent me back on my path. A silent look that said a thousand words roughly translated as ‘Charlie you can do this’. A flickering glance on par with watching my newly born daughter open her eyes for the very first time. A special moment.

And so I shuffled on rather more slowly than expected and I’ve never been so elated to see Buckingham Palace as I was in that last stretch.

This weekend has been a moment of memories which will be permanently etched into my brain, a marathon of experiences which will never be forgotten and the realisation that as troubled as I may be at times I do have some real friends out there who really care about me. I left some black clouds and demons on that course on sunday and feel lighter and happier for it.

Today we commence Season 5 of Run Dem Crew experience and the future is looking bright. On the horizon are more runs and races with some special projects that I think will make you smile. The marathon may be a distance too far for some of you and I for one have had to have a serious think about if it really is the distance for me but what I do know is that with the community of people we have assembled we will always get to the finish line and we will never run alone. Big up to everyone who ran and all of the supporters who braved the heat to cheer us on and an extra special Big up to Richard and his family for making the undercover mile 16 RDC signs. Totally unexpected but most definitely needed.

Ten from the Dome for the sore leg crew
Running 26 miles is a ridiculous but brilliant idea which everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime
Watching it on TV is nothing like running it for real
No matter how many marathons you have run you should never underestimate the power of the distance.
The correct taper is just as important as the right training
Hill training must become your friend
It is okay to abandon the race plan when the wheels come off
Nothing beats a London Marathon crowd
Survival is an underrated word
Water is a powerful drug
Going hard is good but going home is very tempting
Over and out Charlie Dark

You can read my interview with Charlie Dark here, or for more information on the Run Dem Crew, visit www.rundemcrew.com