Tag Archives: finish line

Fantastic Fifty – or Crazy Woman

edinburgh edit

Wow! What a weekend.

Reaching 50 marathons three days after my 50th birthday – I’m still on a high.

It’s been an incredible journey of ups and downs – but seeing that finish line at Edinburgh on Sunday was just the most adrenaline-fuelled moment of my life.

I remember rounding the corner at the 26 mile point, hearing the crowd cheering, the course lined with spectators, and realising there was just 0.2 of a mile between me and my dream.

I launched into a spontaneous victory sprint, crying out something like: “50 marathons, I’ve done it!” I literally leapt across the finish line, punching the air. It was simply A FANTASTIC 50!

Emotion got the better of me just after, as I sat and remembered my dad – his own challenging journey during the last three years reflecting mine.

Whilst, I’d persevered in ticking off around one marathon a month, 40 since April 2012, dad had struggled with advancing vascular dementia. I was adding to my mileage and my medals. Dad was losing his ability to speak, eat, sleep and recognise me – let alone, my achievements.

His finish line came 8 weeks before, when his heart gave out before his mind did. He’s been firmly in both of mine ever since.

He was definitely with me in spirit on Sunday. When my legs hurt and a howling headwind was hampering progress, his mantra he used when I was a child and we ran together, still rang in my ears: “It’s only pain, it won’t kill you.”

He’s been right you know. So right. Running can be painful. Hugely at times. But I’ve come through those barriers. Seen off my demons. Running has contributed to making me who I am – a stronger person, less afraid of challenge, determined to take on life and live it to the full.

20150531_093226Meeting my marvellous support team of family and friends shortly after the finish, by the local radio stand and hearing Coldplay Viva La Vida over the loudspeaker, I started dancing and couldn’t stop. It was a wild, carefree jam-jar moment.

I asked John, my husband, later: “Did I look a bit crazy when I was dancing to Coldplay?”

“Yes,” he said. “You did.”

“And what about when I jumped over the finish line.”

“Yeah, you looked crazy then as well”.

“Do you mind being married to a crazy woman?” I asked.

“Not a bit,” he replied with a smile.

Many people told me I was crazy to take on this challenge. It seemed total madness to me as well at times.

This journey has taught me – never let your own fear or other people’s doubts stop you from following your dream.

It may be crazy – but it could be fantastic too.

edinburgh girls finishThanks to so many people for helping me realise my dream – especially my stalwart husband John, my always-positive mum Rosemary and all my family and friends.

To all my running pals, who are so inspiring too, those I run with and those I know online, especially the girls who came with me to Edinburgh – Claire Ashby, Becky Robson, Jane Hemsworth and Helen Palmer, all from Sidmouth Running Club, who did the marathon and Amanda Perry and Julie Payne, who did the half.

Also to other people who’ve supported me, especially from our village community – who with family and friends, have collectively helped to boost my fundraising to nearly £5,000.

Thanks to everyone at BRACE, particularly chief executive Mark Poarch, for their support and for doing terrific work in funding much-needed research into dementia.

20150217_152310And finally of course remembering and dedicating this post to my own inspiration, my dear dad Bernard.

http://www.justgiving.com/Jo-EarlamBRACE

PS: Oh, just realised I forgot to say – I got a second best ever time of 4:14. I was about halfway overall, in the top third of all the women and in the top 20% of my age group. Not too bad for a fun runner!

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Forty nine – next stop 50!

So here I am nearly one year on from when I first started this blog.

This is my 49th post. I am now 49.

So that’s it, one year and counting to the big 50, meaning the cake with lots of candles and hopefully the finish line of my 50th marathon.

Birthdays are strange things, aren’t they. A notch on the passing of time. And yet it feels the years have stood still and you’re same person you were a decade, two decades before.

Cards from friends and family arrive through the letter box to serve as a reminder of who we are, how people see us.

Mine were particularly appropriate, poignant and amusing this year. Several cake ones – of course – flowers, especially poppies my favourite, a jogger with a dog, more dogs, cycling…….one from my mum telling me I’m “utterly brilliant” – I doubt the veracity of this, but it’s delivered with a conviction that only mums can achieve.

My laugh out loud moment was one from my brother, a 1950s black and white shot of young women doing head-stands. It reminded me of an enjoyable weekend get together a few years back, when I tried to impress my young niece and nephew by doing something similar.

Admittedly, it was after the odd glass of wine or two – a reference strangely lacking from my cards this year.

Perhaps I have become more sober and sensible as I’ve got older……

….though there was a great one from a close friend – we’ve remained a trio since college days – of three dishevelled women sitting round in dressing gowns, the caption reading: “On the whole the years have been kind to us……it was just the weekends which got us into trouble.”

…..so perhaps not.

Like many people these days my friends and family are scattered many miles away in this country and abroad.

Everyone with their own perspective, differing shared experience. Every one special.

It’s good to have them all gathered together for a few days, if only on the mantelpiece.

Hopefully, next year – being the big O year – we’ll all be together for real.

Being 49, and counting down to 50, is not so bad after all.