Shortly after this year’s London Marathon, around the time when the post-race ache in my legs was beginning to subside but the warm glow of achievement was still intense, I entered the ballot for the 2017 race.
I wasn’t absolutely sure that I wanted to, but given the ballot entry was only open for a short period, I reasoned it made sense to put my name in. After all, to spout a cliche, you have to be in it to win it (that’s strictly referring to winning a spot in the marathon by being in the ballot. I’m under absolutely no deluded pretence that somehow being in the marathon would give me any chance of winning it…). If I won a 2017 place in the ballot, I’d have options.
Of course, things have changed since then: I’ve committed to running the Houston Marathon in January 2017. And I’d decided that would be my marathon challenge for 2017. So, in some ways, I didn’t want to get a ballot place for London next year.
After all, I wouldn’t want to run two marathons in three months. That would be daft. If I beat the odds and won a place in the ballot, I’d obviously be deferring it until the 2018 race. Because I obviously wouldn’t want to run another marathon a few months later, would I? No. Of course not. Absolutely not. No, no no.
Unless… well… would I? I mean, I suppose I could. It’s a three month gap. I mean, it would be possible, wouldn’t it. You know, if I got a place.
Anyway, that’s been the circular random argument going on in my head over the last few months. Until I received my results from the London Marathon ballot in the post this week. When I found the envelope on my doorstep there was a palpable sense of excitement. Would I be in, or…
Now, this was the interesting bit: I honestly didn’t know how I was going to react. When I randomly entered the ballot for the 2016 London Marathon it was on a whim. It was only when I missed out on a place and realised how disappointed I was that I grasped how much I wanted to do it. That was the path that led me to the South West Children’s Heart Circle, and the chance to run the marathon for a brilliant cause.
So how would I react to rejection this year? Well… actually, I was fine. Totally fine. Sure, it was a little disappointing – because entering any ballot or prize draw and not winning is a little disappointing. But I didn’t find myself heartbroken.
In many ways, it was almost a relief – it saved me from myself. Would I have been sensible or smart enough to defer a 2017 London Marathon entry? Or would I somehow have challenged myself to run two marathons in three months?
Honestly, I have no idea what the answer to either of those questions would be. So I’m sort of glad I didn’t find out. And it means I’m now totally mentally free to focus on Houston.
So, the Houston Marathon then: 97 days and counting…
As an aside, to anyone who has secured a place in next year’s London Marathon, especially any first-timers: congratulations. You are in for an extraordinary experience. Good luck!