It’s -10, bitterly cold, the sky heavy with snow and I’m running on a completely unploughed mountain road. I blame it on the unnecessary but equally well deserved second bottle of wine, after which I decided to enter the Geneva marathon on 6th May. The morning after the 23rd November, I told two close friends that I run with, but swore them to secrecy. After all, I wasn’t wholly convinced I’d go through with it. My two small boys reckoned the only way I’d finish was if they managed to shoot me out of a cannon, and that’s where my stubborn streak kicked in. I started to tell people what I was doing.
Just to make it clear, I’m not a runner. I run, but have one slow, steady pace. It’s a ‘get you round’ type pace. It’s not geared for competition or honed by personal trainers and complicated work outs. I run because it’s cheap and accessible. I’m 40 years old with two children. I ran a marathon 20 years ago, but a lot can change in that time. Back then I lived in London and worked in an office that had a gym with more running machines than I had feet. Now, I live in the mountains, with children, a catering company and ski instructor exams to finish. I have a discounted pair of trail shoes and some pretty decent thermals, but that’s about it.
I have spent hours trawling Google looking for programmes to “get me round” and to finish the distance whilst putting in as little as possible. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion that with this distance you get out what you put in. So I’m running. So far, I’ve run in the snow and in the ice, although I’ve drawn the line at rain. My dog now refuses to leave the house with me. My hair has frozen, I’ve had frost bite on my toes and I’ve needed to pee more than I thought humanly possible. But the cold does that to you. I just didn’t think about the cold when I completed the application.
I know we’re only in January and there’s still along way to go, but what keeps me going is the support from great friends and family, my brother-in-law, who has entered with me and the slightly terrifying but incredibly encouraging Sue Imerson. I’ve also fallen in love with running again. We have some amazing trails in and around Morzine and I’m enjoying discovering them. The winter is an amazing time to run and I can’t believe that this is the first time in 12 years of living here that I’ve thought if possible. I’ve also decided to run for charity. It makes sense that someone else might benefit from my late night wine binge and I’ve picked two. The first being Help the Aged, an amazing charity that sees worth in the elderly. After watching both my grandmothers feel isolated and marginalised as they grew old, a charity that protects and celebrates the elderly needs to be supported. The second is SOS Royal Bourbon, a grass roots animal rescue charity based on the Reunion Isles, where with the help of the amazing Amanda Appleton from Les Gets and Martine Dubois, many dogs have been rescued and successfully re-homed in the Haute Savoie region. It goes without saying that any donation, big or small will be gratefully received.
I’m positive I’ll finish. More than likely it’ll be slow but I will get round. Amanda has said if I look like I’m flagging in the final few miles she’ll slap a steak to my ass and get the Reunion rescue dogs to chase me down. I think that’s almost worth it, just for the photo!