Tim Sorrell: Blog 3
By Tim Sorrell
19 April 2016
With less than a week to go before the big day and as the taper kicks in, my mileage is coming right down to make sure that my legs are fresh and ready for the challenge ahead of them. But you know what? Tapering is hard! Daft though it sounds, after months of slogging through ever-increasing distances, stepping that distance down is surprisingly difficult.
There’s a fairly large part of me that feels vaguely guilty that my last ‘long’ run will be no more than six miles. After all, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I was running 22 miles; it barely seems worth getting changed into my running kit for something as short as a measly six miles. And yet…at the same time, those six miles seem disproportionately difficult, with every muscle feeling heavy and every step along the way little more than a sluggish plod. If it’s this hard now, how on earth am I going to find the energy to run 26.2 miles on Sunday?
You’d imagine that running was mostly about how much strength you have in your legs, but the simple truth is that it’s at least as much about mental strength. As the novelist and keen amateur marathon runner Haruki Murakami astutely observed: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
It doesn’t matter who you are or how hard you’ve trained, at some point during a marathon, you’re going to hit some sticky patches and you need to be prepared. What gets you through those difficult moments is your determination not to stop, to keep going no matter what. Did you see Eddie Izzard completing 27 marathons in 27 days? It was an extraordinary undertaking from start to finish, but watching the documentary, the thing that struck me the most was Eddie’s steely focus on putting one foot in front of the other, however much it hurt and however much he wanted to stop. I’m only running the one marathon, but the mental approach is basically the same.
My motivation to keep going when the going gets tough? I’m humbled by the generosity of the friends, acquaintances and total strangers who have helped us raise money for a cause that is close to my heart. We raised £7,200 for the MS Trust in last year’s race, and when you factor in Gift Aid and suchlike, this year we’ve already raised more than £10,000.
We've definitely been lucky to have the support of Virtual Runner, but what's really floored me is the generosity of those people who sponsor us, or who buy a raffle ticket for the chance of a rubbish prize or who put their names down for a finishing time in my sweepstake that they know I haven’t got a chance of making. The MS Trust is a fine charity and I'm proud to be raising money for them, but the reason I keep putting one foot in front of the other is because of the faith people like you are putting in me.
Of course, you can still sponsor us!
See you on the other side!