As ‘ballot day’ approached, chatter around the 2016 Virgin London Marathon started up on social media. Charities sent e-shot mailers out, wishing participants luck and asking for consideration in joining their teams as a charity entrant.
It was revealed that those who would not be taking part in the 2016 event would receive a magazine through the post with a picture of a runner dressed as Spider-Man and the words ‘Sorry’ on the front. Those who had been lucky enough to secure a place would receive a magazine with a photo of a runner dressed as a bumble bee with the caption ‘You’re In!’
On ‘ballot day’ itself, and during the days which followed, my Twitter feed was chocca with fellow runners expressing sadness and disappointment (extreme, in some cases), and excited happiness, for those who had had the magazine delivered to their workplace, or were at home. Those who were unable to get to their post until much later, or had their magazine/decision delayed, seemed full of anticipation and nervousness.
I fell into the latter category and watched with a knotted stomach as people around me found out whether or not they had been ‘successful’. (I don’t like that word in this context; it sounds like those who didn’t get in have somehow failed, at something they had literally no control over.)
Readers of my blog will know that I’ve never run a marathon before, but would love to give it a try; I want to tick it off my bucket list and complete one before I turn 30. It’s such a huge achievement. My first choice is, and always will be, the London Marathon. I’ve always thought that if I ever ran 26.2miles, it will be at this event. I’m English; that’s basically it.
I can hand-on-heart say that I’ve never been so nervous about heading home! I can’t recall ever feeling this way about receiving post. Was I going to get a Spider-Man magazine cover, or a bumble bee one?
I saw the magazine lying in the hallway as soon as I opened my front door. It felt like a million moths and butterflies were having a rave in my stomach! Then I realised that it was padded, and it dawned on me that there was an item of clothing in the package… The famous ‘rejection’ running jacket. I knew before I opened the package that there was a Spider-Man cover inside. I was surprised at how disappointed I was. It felt like a knock-back.
Running for charity isn’t an option; London Marathon fundraising targets are in the thousands and I have found that people aren’t overly generous any more (it’s always been a struggle begging for sponsorship), and having just bought a new car and a new house, I can’t justify picking up any outstanding amount that I’m not able to fundraise. I do a huge amount for charity as it is.
I was supposed to go on a 10mile half-marathon training run that night, but didn’t feel like going.
What happens next?
I’ll keep trying until I’m 30, then that’s it. Two more ballot entries to complete, and two more chances. I do believe in fate to a certain extent (although people use it as an excuse for laziness most of the time); so if it’s meant to be, it will be.