Well, this complicates things.
Something extraordinary just happened to me! I got lucky, big time. The sort of luck that you don’t quite know if you really want or deserve but you sure as hell know you can’t let the opportunity pass you by.
So, for those of you not in the know, I’m a sort-of runner. I do run, slowly and badly. I drag my weary carcass out and about in the Sheffield area of the UK, and I keep an honest but hardly inspiration running blog ‘Running Scared – more Hobbit than Hare‘. I’m usually game for ‘having a go’ but I’m never going to win any prizes other for being brave against the odds. I do believe in nothing ventured nothing gained, why else would I be about to head out to Cambodia? However, I don’t really expect to get lucky on the whole, but just think you should stick your head above the proverbial parapet now and again because if you don’t try things you’ll never know. Well, today has been call my bluff day. Why? Because today, the postman brought me this:
Now, in case you don’t know, this is the golden ticket in UK running. It is a succesful ballot place for the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017. Places are as rare as dragons’ teeth (which is very rare indeed).
I honestly never expected to get a place, but thought I should do my time with applying year after year and eventually it may (or may not) come good. Plenty of my running friends have applied for places year on year for what seems like decades and not had so much as a sniff of a place. Elite members of my running clubs have built their whole running year around securing a Good For Age performance at a marathon that will guarantee them entry in London the following year. (They have even succeeded at doing so – though accidentally booking bunk bed accommodation for the night after the marathon showed rather less planning prowess – don’t worry, they’ve got it sorted). The point is, it seemed more likely that you can achieve a ‘good for age’ than you’d get a ballot place. Blimey, nobody ever gets one of them! How is it possible then, that, and please don’t hate me, but I’ve got lucky first time out. OH. MY. GAWD.
Talking of dragons, the race day is St George’s Day, 23 April 2017. The problem is, training for this is going to set some very significant logistical challenges. I’m going to be in Phnom Penh for most of that preparation time. It’s going to be too hot to run outside, and frankly, I’m not confident it would be safe to do so. Not just because of the heat, but vulnerability to crime, traffic and horrendous pollution. As has already been established, I will be near a gym, and so far I’ve googled ‘can you train for a marathon of a treadmill’ and ‘is it safe to run in Phnom Penh’. Neither yielded answers I would call exactly encouraging.
Oh well, my response in turning to google at all is in itself significant. When I put in for the ballot, I’d assumed I wouldn’t get a place, but I’d also had a secondary voice saying ‘and if you do, you can just defer for 2018, they let you do that once’. However, now I am clutching my golden ticket there is no way I want to defer. I really want to do this. It may be madness, but it might also be the making of me. Perhaps it will force me to get fit in Phnom Penh, it will give me something to focus on when I’m back in the UK so avoiding the otherwise almost inevitable onset of cataclysmic depression and soul sapping anti-climax that will come about on finding myself at grey and dismal Heathrow airport with no money, no plan and nothing to look forward to. It might also help me to stay connected with my running buddies whilst I am away. Who are all awesome…
Eek. I wonder, I really do. Is this challenge even possible? It’s certainly going to put a new spin on life in Cambodia. As a minimum, I’ll be packing my running shoes and my Smiley Paces Vest. The challenge of fitting everything in my backpack may yet be as great as running a marathon. We shall see.
How does the saying go? Feel the fear and do it anyway, well, I’m certainly feeling the fear, so where’s the harm in following through eh… Eek. Don’t know what scares me more, running a marathon or moving to Phnom Penh. It’s going to be quite some journey over the next few months – do you fancy coming along for the ride?