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London Marathon 2016

Tash before the race, and after with a well-deserved cocktail
Tash before the race, and after with a well-deserved cocktail

We spoke to Tash Walker, one of our amazing 2015 runners, about her experience of running the marathon with us.

1. How did you find out about The London Community Foundation having marathon places?

I found out about the marathon place one evening when reading The Evening Standard. Before I could stop myself, I whipped out my phone and sent an email to the address.  I remember thinking, ‘well at least I’ve really tried to get in, and if I don’t then it wasn’t meant to be’.  My heart was pounding as I sent the email

2.     What made you want to run the London Marathon?

I had already run the marathon once before and it was an experience of intense pain and great pleasure.  I had picked up an injury and the last 8 miles were absolute torture, so I felt I had unfinished business with the marathon.   My dad has always been a marathon runner and I remember watching him as a kid, being totally awestruck at the emotion and the achievement of it all. And I’ve always wanted to have a go myself.  So this second time round with The London Community Foundation, I was determined to have a go and not spend the last 2 hours sobbing.

3.     Were you already a runner?

Yes, I already did a fair bit of running, albeit not particularly fast!  When I was little, runners seemed like part of this super elite club full of athletes, whereas now I know anyone can do it. The great thing about the marathon is seeing literally all shapes, sizes and ages crossing the line.  I remember being over-taken by an 85 year old who was in full fancy dress as I came down the Mall.  Part of me felt great pride at being part of something like that, part of me wanted to try and trip him up!

4.     How did you find raising £2000? Had you fundraised before?

Fundraising is a tricky one now, everyone has lots of friends doing more and more extraordinary things, so even running a marathon can seem a bit ordinary.  The key really is to get a friend to make a large donation first (the bigger the better) and that usually encourages everyone to give a bit more!  Also I found that doing things for other people was really good, so for me, most of the money I raised was through supper clubs.  I would make everyone dinner, stand up and tell them about The London Community Foundation and then they would all give money.  I found that if you gave everyone an extra glass of wine before the chat then they were usually a bit more generous!

5.     What was race day itself like?

Imagine feeling like you are facing impending doom: that is basically how you feel when you wake up!  You feel a bit sick, then you think ‘maybe if I just don’t go no-one will notice.’  Then you talk yourself back into it, gingerly eat a bit of breakfast and try not to think about all the toenails you are about to lose.  The walk to the park at the start only gets your heart beating a little further: at this point if my dad wasn’t there I would probably have walked in the opposite direction! But when you get there, your spirits really soar.  Everyone around you is chatty and everyone is nervous, but super encouraging. You feel awe and wonder at the event you are about to be a part of and then you look at all the spectators and think how lucky you are to be taking part in  it rather than just watching!  It is truly a weird mix of emotions, but magic!

6.     What was the highlight of your whole experience as a marathon runner?

Crossing the line, bursting into tears and everyone around you just holding hands, laughing and crying.  You feel such amazing relief, such amazing joy and so utterly done in!  Also I loved certain bits where everyone is cheering you on.  At the 11 mile mark, someone yelled out “Paula Radcliffe has just finished” and everyone cheered and then booed as we realised we weren’t even half way.  Brilliant.

7.     Would you do it all again?

No!  I mean yes.  No!  Yes. No! Yeah probably. I can understand why people see it as an addiction!

Published on 26 October 2015

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