I have tried for years, for longer than I have been blogging, to get into the London marathon via the public ballot, and for years I have failed. Of course I could have asked for any number of charity berths, raised the required amount of money, and run in any of those years, but something of that extra undertaking with the pressure of a financial target on top of training, home- and work- life stopped me. Then again I could have gone and trained and gained a good for age pace, but all signs point to me only ever being an average runner of average talent (take a look at my 'event history' page for proof), and moreover an average training budget* [* time I have 'spare' to train].
Does it look like I am bitter? I have after all run the Berlin marathon twice and a proportionally smaller number of people from the UK will have done that. I am not sure if I am bitter or not, but each passing year I get a little more jealous of those that have done it, a little more keen, and a whole lot more convinced that if I ever do it it will be a massive highlight of my running 'career'. I ask myself after I ponder each passing London "How would I feel if I never do it?" and feel a more than a little sad at the prospect. Next year I am finally contemplating biting down on the wooden stick and asking for a charity place. My big fear is that by that time I will have nibbled away at my family, friends and colleagues for charity offerings once too often in recent times and that it will be an uphill struggle for a race that I would really want to enjoy to its fullest.
It isn't long until the next ballot opens and I will earnestly begin my annual calculation of what I might do for next year if a "No" comes of it again (go around the ballot route the following year, or chase that charity spot). In the meanwhile I will watch the coverage, with many smiles of joy at the stories and incredible tales of triumph over adversity that always come out of every London marathon, and all the while quietly hope that next year might just be my year.
Good luck on Sunday if you are running London, go out enjoy it, and run a blinder for me.