No, you don't have the wrong Gaynor Owen - it really is me and yes, I really am going to run the ING New York City Marathon on 4th November 2012...all 26.2 glorious miles (!) of it and by doing so, I would like you to help me raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Until a few years ago, those who know me well would never have considered me athletic in any shape or form! I avoided the gym at all costs, often opting for a shower and coffee to justify my gym membership. I had NEVER run, not even as a child. However, following one too many drinks at a party last year, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and into a pair of running shoes and a fully supportive sports bra (!) with the sole purpose of running the ING New York City Marathon 2012. Brave or foolish? Well, that remains to be seen!
Why New York? It was a place I called home in my early 20s and holds a very special place in my heart. My time spent working there made me believe that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible so it's a fitting place to take on this enormous challenge.
It soon became clear when I first put my running shoes on that it takes much more than fierce determination to run a Marathon...although I am relying on that to help get me through on the day! I've had to learn how to run on a treadmill, on pavements and roads, with a parachute strapped to my back (!), while breathing, while talking, while drinking, while swallowing carbohydrate gels, in the heat, in the freezing cold, in the rain, in the snow, in full sun (not often!), while hung-over, while wearing a hat and gloves, while wearing sunglasses and most importantly not at all while injured which was the hardest of them all! It's been the most hysterical journey which has taken me from a non-runner to someone who can run a sub-2 hour Half Marathon...so that's the first half taken care of then!
Now, on to the reason for all this. Over the past decade, I have lost count of how many friends and family members have been diagnosed with all forms of Cancer and sadly we have lost many of them, not all of them old. Many of my "family of friends" - people who have been influential role models in my life - have gone, leaving a void that can never be filled. We've seen friends and their families try to cope with the devastation of the diagnosis, the emotional rollercoaster ride of surgery, follow-on treatments and the constant good-news/bad-news-what-will-tomorrow-bring uncertainty of it all. Some treatments worked, some bought precious time and some failed, allowing this hideous disease to take loved ones all too soon.
Running 26.2 miles will be incredibly hard work for me - it will mean taking one mile at a time, overcoming pain barriers and forsaking the urge to give up and go home but that is nothing compared to the strength that those fighting cancer have to find each and every day so if they can do that, I can certainly do this!
Cancer Research UK is funded entirely by amazing supporters like you. By sponsoring me you can help more people survive cancer so please dig deep - I promise I won't be asking again! My target is £2,620 which equates to £100 per mile.
If you can sponsor me and you are a UK taxpayer, please remember to tick the Gift Aid box when donating as this will increase your donation by at least 25% at no cost to you.
Thank you - this means a lot. I shall be running in memory of my "Uncle" Alan, a fitness fanatic his entire life who managed to play his final round of golf a week before he passed away with Cancer last year.
Although I shall be running the Marathon on my own, getting to the start line has been a team effort. The most enormous thanks go out to running friends Jack, Bev & Cathy, Rodney at Colets and Liam Grimley at First Hand Sports Rehab - your constant support, encouragement and words of advice will be with me every step of the way. To Ross, Emily and Alice who have had to put up with what has become an obsession - your fully operational wife and Mother will be back with you shortly and to you lovely lot - not one of you laughed in my face when I told you what I was up to! Thank you!!!!