Sarah Atkin was pulled “out of the hat” to run in this year’s Marathon

Sarah joined our lovely VLM18 team after gaining a ballot place.  On the day Sarah showed true grit and sheer determination and also demonstrated how powerful the crowd and her family and friends were to encourage her right to the end.  Here Sarah shares her marathon experience dealing with 2 bouts of the Beast from the East to the hottest marathon on record, fantastically completing the marathon in 04:52:02

Sarah’s Story:

At the beginning of November last year I was lucky enough for Gemma Griffiths to pull my name “out of the hat” for the Club London Marathon ballot place. I had already secured a charity place with a small charity that means a lot to me, The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, but getting the club place meant I could still raise money for my charity without the added pressure of raising a certain amount as well as training and general life! Fast forward to Sunday 23rd April and we were on the start line to this worldwide famous race.

The 16 week training plan for this, my second marathon, couldn’t have gone better despite illness and two bouts of the Beast from the East! Finally, crossing the start line almost 25 minutes after the “gun” went and we were off. Settling into a comfortable pace, it was warm – very warm! Just before 5k I pulled alongside my friend’s boyfriend Chris! We had a mid-run hug and carried on. Picking up water from each water station and following the advise of the organisers – I drank, doused, drained and dropped the bottles, often holding onto one like a security blanket! Passing the Cutty Sark at Just before 12 miles I started to feel not so great and just after Tower Bridge was searching desperately for a portoloo! My husband had found my parents, brother, his partner and my miniatures just after the halfway point but they were on the other side of the road, which at this point was probably a good thing! Between here and approximately 18 miles the whole race was really messing with my head! Stubborn Sarah kicked in though I knew I had to finish this! Fast forward about 7/8 miles and after my 4th toilet stop Stephen and I met up with the lovely Jayne from Hedon Fitmums & Friends who we met on the coach trip down to the City. They both stayed with me for the rest of the race and I couldn’t be more thankful for this.

At 18.5 miles I heard a shout of “Teddie” (my nickname from school). Knowing my best friend Claire had travelled down to hopefully spot me and support me I couldn’t see her but knew it was her! At this point we were run/walk the rest of the race (as were the majority of people). We turned back onto The Highway and my family were shouting at us – I went for a hug (good job I was wearing my sunglasses!) about a mile and a half after this Stephen’s wife Andrea and kids were there for us. It is true the crowd push you on.

Going under the bridge at about 23 miles we heard shouts of “the Barton runner” aimed at Stephen in his club vest it was a group led by Kerry Padley from Scunthorpe & District AC. Finally turning the corner at Westminster, passing Buckingham Palace and onto the Mall with the 385 yards to go sign in view I found it hard not to shed a few tears. Going over the finish line at this epic race I was initially very disappointed, feeling I’d wasted 4 months of dedicated training and the sense of letting my club down was quite overwhelming. But looking back now I’m proud. Proud I finished the hottest race in history, proud I listened to my body to pause when I needed, proud my children got to watch me (despite Mr Potato Head being the clear favourite runner on the day!) and proud I raised over £3000 for a very special charity that helped me cope in a time when I needed them so they can continue to help unfortunate ladies like me.

So, my experience of the 38th Virgin London Marathon wasn’t the race I wanted but would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

As with all our runners we are so grateful and proud of all Sarah’s hard work training and raising funds and awareness for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust.  If you feel inspired and would like to donate to our marathon runners please see Sarah and her fellow runners fundraising pages.  Or please get in touch if you would like to be part of our team next year.

Kerry Slevin, Sally LaflinHelen CerulloJanet Murray, Tony LewisCaren HarrisSarah AtkinTara KellyHannah CassapLynsey Miles