The Grand Finale…

“Since my name is in the ballot, we’ll have an unbiased person draw the names. Kath, would you do the honours?” Life President Syd announced as we prepared for the much anticipated draw for the two club places for London Marathon. An exciting part of the Annual General Meeting, with those in attendance waiting to hear who’d got a place.

“It’s going to be you, I know it,” I whispered to Carol. Several of us had put our names forward for the coveted places, after having been unsuccessful at the general entry ballot. After receiving my “sorry” magazine to say I hadn’t got a general place earlier in the year, I hadn’t really planned to enter for the club ballot. After all, I’m more of an off-roadie,who’d got swept along with the London Marathon excitement. But a couple of days before, I secretly decided to put my name forward, thinking I most likely wouldn’t get it, but at least I could say I’d tried.

As Kath pulled out the first name, all runners were silent, yet the room buzzed with anticipation, as she unfolded the slip of paper and read out loud the name of the winner of the first place:

“Jen Harding”

She announced, smiling in my direction. I yelled out in surprise and not knowing what to do or say, hid my face in my hands as friends cheered congratulations. That wasn’t supposed to happen! There are people who’ve tried for years but never been fortunate enough, and there was me on my first time scoring a place!

At that moment, I related slightly to how Harry Potter must have felt when a slip of paper bearing his name was also very unexpectedly announced, when it was spat out from the Goblet of Fire. Wait, I have to do what?! I’m not qualified. There are runners/wizards far more deserving and capable than I. I’m not fast. I don’t want to let down my club. I really don’t want to even do it…..except that may, secretly, without even being prepared to admit it to anyone, I actually really, really do.

The drawer & the drawee. I made Kath take a selfie with me to mark the start of marathon training!

I scooched over to Kath in a pause in the meeting, on the way high-fiving chair-boss-man Jonno who scored the other place, and ignoring second reserve Syd who said he might accidentally be tripping us up in the hope of getting our place! Not sure whether he was joking or not, but I’ll be maintaining a healthy distance. I asked Kath, who sub 3 houred on her first marathon, for her tips and thanked her for randomly drawing my name. Clearly, I won’t be aiming for a sub 3, but a sub 6 would be nice! And I’ll take all the help I can get.

A few people suggested afterwards that this would be the perfect grand finale for my 30 races for 30 years challenge, saying the way it had worked out, it was meant to be. I’d hoped to finish the challenge within 2016, but with my dissertation and everything in my schedule, as well as trying to find races worthy of the challenge, I knew it would be a stretch to make it and finish strong. So after asking on social media if there were any objections from my supporters, I’ve decided to make this the 30th race. This gives me time to find a few more great and challenging races for the final few beforehand, as well as catch up on the missing blogs, and finish with one of the most iconic races in the world.

I’ll try to keep y’all updated on my training and preparation for London, and hope having a few months notice I’ll be slightly more successful than my impulsive attempt at the Gloucester marathon!

If you’d like to donate to anti trafficking organisation A21 and support me in my 30 races for 30 years, please click here. 

PS. Training started the night of the draw – with my car out of action, I ran home from the meeting!

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2 thoughts on “The Grand Finale…

  1. Oh Jen, I am so pleased for you. I sort of guessed from the title of your post that you did get it. But Yes I think it is a fitting end too.
    I do find it interesting, esp not being a runner, that there is something special about the London marathon. Like you’ve run loads and some much harder in my opinion. Yet the London one is the top one. Do you know why?

    Have a great Christmas if we don’t chat before. And Well done XX

  2. This is wonderful Jen!!!! The perfect selection in my opinion!!

    I tried to reply to your message but my e-mail’s won’t go through, so I decided to respond here:

    Hello Beautiful!

    Yes, I have deactivated my Facebook for a while 🙂 It feels so liberating!

    Thank you for finding a way to reach me beyond Facebook! hee, hee.. Thank you for you well wishes and your love for 2017. It feels like it is going to be such a rewarding year!

    How are you? How is study? I know you are still LOVING your running!!!

    Oh, and we got your card! Thank you SOOOOOOO much! Such a beautiful surprise 🙂

    Love you! xxxx

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