• London Marathon 2019 – Farhad Hamad

London Marathon 2019 – Farhad Hamad

Will I run a marathon again? It might be possible to get a little PB, now I don’t even think I can make it to the start line!

My little story about the VMLM 2019 Just trying to put myself back together after one of the most amazing, emotional and unforgettable weekend of my life A quick rewind to 2016-17, back then I did 4 marathons in the space of 6 months with 2 of them being in a week as well as a half marathon and a couple of shorter races, done all these without having any specific training plans or hardly any training to be honest (not wise and not proud of it) therefore I got badly injured and was out of action for 2 years but luckily “perhaps” I was just about able to ride my bike to keep the fitness good but even that wasn’t all painfree! yes this has taken far too long recover and the nature of my job and myself (and maybe the cycling?) weren’t helping much with the recovery!

Having had all those problems, I still wanted to run another marathon or more maybe because I was thinking I might be able to run a faster time if I too start training good and do everything as I should for a marathon, therefore one of the other marathons I entered in 2018 was London marathon!

Anyways, my application for London got rejected but not only lucky once but lucky twice in one hand as I got one out of three (then two) of the club ballot places and that place was actually my loveliest Sara’s place and she gifted it to me, somehow there was a slight mistake from England Athletics with how many places the club could get and now we were only allowed to get only two places instead of three while three of us had already won a place each, as a respect to my fellow runners Rick & Lorraine I decided to not do it that year, let them do it and wish them all the best!

It’s 2019 now and I have a place to do London marathon and it can only mean one thing “start running and training again “ after two years, pressure was on 😁, needed to start running again (not easy) needed to be extra careful (things can sometimes go wrong again) wanted to get a good time (impossible) the things you would normally think!

Now the training has started, once again I didn’t have any specific “marathon” training plans to get a good time and stuff, my plan was to get out build the running back up again and run as much as I can and go as long as possible, you know that won’t be easy and it might cause some problems too to have such an increase after being out for so long, and yes it was full of ups and downs!

Trying to cut things a bit short.  Soon after I started running and trying to increase the distance and with having all the lovely hills round us I got shin splints (both legs) and that stopped me for two full weeks (in the gym now doing all sorts of exercises to make this better) on the road again with my running and close to reach the long 20 miles runs mark, while doing these I was gaining some of my speed back “on shorter and flatter runs” and was managing the around 7 minutes a mile pace again and I even did a five miles run and went well under 7 minutes a mile ave pace (I accidentally deleted this while trying to save it 🤦🏻‍♂️) you could say if it isn’t on Strava it doesn’t count! 😁

Here I started having some confidence back and was thinking, it might be possible to get a personal best if things go right, but unfortunately it didn’t, on my second attempt to run a 20 miles I was poorly with a bad chest and couldn’t do more 16 miles, couldn’t finish the last 4 miles as it was cold and had to wind in my face and chest, this run made me a lot worse and forced to stay in bed for another week, on my third attempt to run 20 miles I had some really bad stitches and it disrupted my long run that day. (life goes on) got a bit better and got running again, hooray, no, wait for it, if you thought that was bad and I was unlucky or lucky or whatever? (two weeks to go to London now) will try my last attempt and see if I can run this 20 miles before it, put trainers and running kits on, hoping to get this done and get out of the way so I can rest for a bit (tapering) and get ready for the big day, (listen to this) headed out just before noon, with LESS than half a mile into my run my lower back went and it went really badly, something I had never experienced in my life before, unbearable pain, somehow I got myself back home,couldn’t move at all, for a good few hours I was in pain and was hoping that I was getting better but no chance(the only good thing here was seeing some of the friends finishing Manchester marathon on Strava, that got me through some of the pain, then I had to be taken to A&E in the evening and stayed there till 2:30 in the morning, good news was my back only had muscle sprains (why so painful?) but the bad news was the doctor told me I at least need three weeks for it to get any better that’s if I rest it and don’t do anything serious with it with only two weeks to go to London, I therefore for a moment thought that was it, no chance of running London, but I want to do London, I want to run it, run it at any pace, walk it, crawl it, just do it and do it at any cost!

Ok, I’m in London and on the start line already (some feeling) off we go, right on the first 5k mark I got hit by the crowd and the noises and I got very emotional 😭, tried to keep it all together so carried on, it was unbelievably amazing seeing and hearing what the spectators (something I cannot describe) on the top of all that the support from HPH on the course, seeing Graeme, Naomi, Aron, Ciara and Laura twice as well as having the support from my own little crew of three and of course the ones I didn’t see and surely shouted my name but no way I could hear a thing, Steve, Deborah, Helen, Lucy and god knows how many more was really uplifting and was making all the hard work worthwhile, I can’t thank these guys enough, can’t believe how quickly the first half had gone, reaching the Tower Bridge, seeing and hearing the spectators was truly spectacular and sensational, it brought tears to my eyes (I know I cried 😭🤷🏻‍♂️) unforgettable moment, I pushed on, with a struggle in the last 4-3 miles with cramps and tight hamstring I was over the moon to see myself to get cross the finish line in 3:36:24, really surprised myself and was very pleased 😀

You and I both know I can run a faster time but honestly considering all problems I’ve had this has got to be amazing, I was so close to miss it all together and like I always say, if I ran it in a slower or faster time, it’d still be the same 26.2 miles and it’d still be London marathon, for me just to be able to run and finish London marathon is everything and wouldn’t care about time etc, therefore I’d like to take this opportunity to say:-

THANKS A BILLION to :-

Sara for gifting me her place in the first place, love you loads. To HPH for giving us the second chance and a great opportunity. To all supporters on and off the course and trying to spot us on TVs and get screenshots of me to make me uglier than ever before 😂🤨 To Chris and Dalia. To everyone involved in the slightest way even if it was with just a simple word, I always say those small simple words can go a long way. To the support from Strava friends. To those who were messaging me and telling me nice things. Everywhere really. Apologies in advance if I’ve missed to mention something or someone, I’m sure I have but thanks a billion.

I don’t think I’m done with these marathons yet 😬 and hopefully one day when I’m a bit lucky I will do one with some better training.

If you’re thinking about doing one or more, I’d say absolutely go for it, it’s amazing but please take extra care of yourself and make sure you’re fully ready for it to maximise the enjoyment and you’ll be amazing 🙂

Can I also take this opportunity to congratulate all my friends in and out HPH who finished the race and hope you guys had a fab time too

Apologies to those who find this as an unnecessary long message but I really hope it’ll help some people in one way or another along their trainings and determinations

Thanks a billion with lots of love 🏃🏻‍♂️💗 🏃🏼‍♀️

Farhad Hamad

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