I did it! I ran the 2016 London Marathon (polishes medal proudly)! My marathon dream, one which started this time last year, has finally come true. You see, I live in Greenwich, a swanky part of London (mind you we’ve moved four times) and only moments away from the start line. After seeing thousands of individuals, of various ages and sizes rush passed my front door, I knew I wanted a piece of the marathon madness too.
In July 2014 we moved to Greenwich. In order to become better acquainted with the area and settle in I joined a running club – Greenwich Runners – a lovely group led by fitness instructor, Ellie Brown. Within seven weeks at the club, I could already run my first 5K and by the time I brought my running tights, there was no stopping me!
So when the Virgin Money London Marathon ballot opened in the middle of the night, I stayed awake. With all my toes and fingers crossed, I completed all the forms and hoped for the best. But it wasn’t meant to be. To my dismay, I received the ‘You Are Out’ magazine in the post in October and I felt my heart sink. I would be leaving London soon, I thought, and what if I never get to run the London Marathon?
I wanted to keep the hope alive and so I kept on training. I even signed up to the Royal Parks and Egmond (Netherlands) half marathon to prepare for the London Marathon; I just had to run it! At that point I did think about running for a charity but I was worried no-one would sponsor me. Having previously done several challenges for various charities, I was apprehensive about approaching my family and friends. I didn’t want to be that person who is always asking for donations.
In February this year, a close friend of mine informed me AbleChildAfrica still had places available at this year’s marathon. I was psyched! And even though I was concerned about getting sponsors, my friend reminded me that I can do it, and so I did. Within a couple of days, I had a spot at the 2016 London Marathon! I couldn’t believe my dream was finally coming true.
What made this news extra special for me is that I would be running my first marathon in my last year in London. It will be an almost good bye to this great city, which I’ve come to know through running.
It was three months away now – yikes! The great thing though about having a date in mind is you push yourself more than you usually would. It’s not every day you wake up and think, “I’ll just run 26.2 miles today”. But you know when you’ll need to run this and when that day comes around, you just do it and it feels great! You realise you are capable of running a marathon and it’s not just the race day that’s special but all the hard work you’ve done before it.
On the day I left my house just 15 minutes before start time (one of the perks of living so close to the start line). That’s when the nerves began to kick in and before I knew it, it was time to go! The four hour journey through traffic-free London roads started and suddenly it felt like I was on the world stage. It was amazing – so many runners, so many spectators cheering you on right up to the last minute.
I loved every moment of it! It wasn’t just the feeling of accomplishment which takes over you but knowing also that you’ve just done something good for the world. I’m incredibly proud to have run for AbleChildAfrica and made a difference to the lives of the disabled children they work with. I’m grateful also to the many people who have supported my marathon dream, donated to my chosen charity, and pushed me to cross that finish line. If I could, I would do it again.
Kiki Smit, Marathoner
Want to follow in he same footsteps? Join the AbleChildAfrica team today.