Not my usual Eurovision-related post on here. I’ve been keeping a blog on my JustGiving page but the character limit is 500 characters. This time, I have a little more to say…
I’m just about to embark on my 11th marathon and fifth London Marathon. Some people probably think it’s mad that I run marathons. Others find my training posts on social media annoying. I get it. When it comes to fundraising though, they have helped to tell the story and show that real, continued effort has gone into the training.
Since I started running marathons in 2013 I’ve raised more than £13,000 for charity. From the bottom of my heart, a HUGE thank you!!
Whilst I’ll continue to run, conscious that I am so often asking for sponsorship, this marathon will be my last one for charity for a while. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support my family, friends and even total strangers have given me.
I can honestly say that running marathons has changed my life. When I was at school I was usually last picked for football, bullied for being gay and generally a bit miserable. Running was my saviour – it was the only thing I was remotely good at in PE. Unfortunately I had a teacher who did nothing to encourage this. Not only did he fail to see that maybe my talents lay outside of football, he also actively enabled the bullying to happen by ignoring the insults and slurs, sometimes even laughing along.
On marathon routes your mind can wander and I sometimes think back to those school days but more importantly I think of how far I’ve come.
Participating in races has considerably improved my health and well-being and given me a sense of discipline that I never had before. It also gives space to clear the head and I always, always feel better after. Marathons have provided me with some amazing experiences along the way and whilst the training is always difficult, the highs you get are amazing.
For me there’s an emotional attachment to marathons – the stories of why people run always move me. These races are a force for good – there’s such positivity in the air and as cheesy as it this might sound, on race days the world seems like a better place.
We live in worrying times and marathons remind me of the good in the world – the support people have shown with my fundraising is proof of that. I will always be grateful.
When I cross the finish line I’ll be thinking of those who have supported me and the charities I’ve raised funds for. I’ll also think of those who made life difficult along the way, for they have also helped me to achieve more than I ever thought I could.
Thank you x
Lovely post, Paul – and have fun and enjoy tomorrow! x
What a wonderful journey you’ve been on so far .Im sure so many people can identify with your story. You are such a good person inside and out. Congratulations for getting this far .Will be thinking of all of u running this marathon and am sure there are many raising so much for charities. Good luck. Brenda X❤️
A very heartfelt post Paul I hope your words help others to rise above all types of discrimination aimed at them . Very proud of you and all your achievements 👍💕 xx
Very well put Paul. I’m sure you’ve achieved more than most of those bullies!! Congratulations and enjoy!!!
Really good to get the back story on your running and its importance for you . You are l think running as we write these words back in Adelaide. Respect. Stewart n Loine xx