Craig talks us through his experience of running the Dublin Marathon. He’s running for his wife and so many other women diagnosed with secondary breast cancer with the hope that one day there will be a cure.

Wednesday 11 January 2017      Challenge events blog
Craig crossing the Dublin Marathon finishing line

Craig crossing the finish line in Dublin

Despite never running before apart from a short four and a half months of training, I found myself travelling to Dublin in October with a mixture of excitement and apprehension at the thought of the challenge that lay ahead: my first ever marathon.

The reason for my taking on the challenge is simple: to help stop to breast cancer taking lives. As I wrote in my last blog, everything changed on that fateful day in 2014 when I was told that my wife has incurable secondary breast cancer. So I’ve chosen to take on what I thought was impossible – three marathons in one year (and I’ve now added a little bonus half marathon too!). Here’s how my first one went….

Without doubt, two key moments stand out for me. The start and the finish. But throughout the run I was in awe of the overwhelming support from the tens of thousands of people lining the streets to cheer on the runners.

Hitting ‘The Wall’

The first 10km were relatively easy. My body was pumped full of adrenaline from the excitement of the event coupled with the atmosphere created by the spectators. In fact, things were going well right the way through the half marathon point up until around 19/20 miles.

Nothing quite prepares you for “hitting the wall” – the moment of every runner dreads; the total feeling of physical & mental exhaustion. It hit me at the 20 mile mark and was the first time I’d ever experienced anything this tough. It is at that point you have to simply battle through and concentrate on why you are doing it. Thinking of the friends and family who have supported me and my desire to raise funds for Breast Cancer Now is all that kept me going.

Overwhelming Support

I slogged through miles 20 to 24; I’d never known anything so tough. But all of a sudden, my exhaustion was forgotten as during those last couple of miles as I was surrounded by thousands of people cheering and waving from the side.

Once again the adrenaline kicked in and from somewhere a huge surge of energy lifted me through the last two miles. I felt like I was almost being carried along by the soundwave. I was choked by the response, and the last mile was very emotional for me.

As I crossed the finishing line, I was overwhelmed with elation. I was not only elated at completing the course, but I also felt proud that I was justifying the support given to me throughout training. Taking those last steps over the finish line is a feeling that is almost indescribable, so forgive me if I cannot give it the justice it deserves.

Bring it on!

Completing this marathon has also taught me an incredible lesson – you can accomplish almost anything with a positive attitude. Back in April, I’d never run before, but I was determined to complete my challenge of three marathons within a year and Dublin was the start. But this wasn’t easy. Desire to complete the course is not enough, I had to follow and a strict training plan. And I’ll tell you all about that in my next post!

This marathon, the atmosphere, and the support of the people of Dublin and Ireland created one of the most amazing days I have ever experienced. It has given me such a inspiration to run in further marathons – starting with London in April, thanks to Breast Cancer Now.

See you there!

Visit Craig's JustGiving page to find out more about his challenge

Inspired by Craig's story?

Look out for Craig’s next blog post about preparing to take on the London Marathon, coming soon. Read his first blog to find out why he decided to take on the huge challenge of running three marathons in a year.

If you've been inspired to take on your own challenge, have a look at our fabulous selection of runs and events.

Or if you’d like to use your London Marathon place to run for Breast Cancer Now, let us know - we’d love to welcome you to #TeamNow.