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How I am fundraising for my London Marathon charity place

When signing up for the London Marathon, all I initially thought about was the physical commitment. The financial commitment didn’t really cross my mind. I didn’t anticipate that the fundraising would actually be a huge part of this challenge and at times it can be really tiring as well. Below are the fundraising things I have done so far and also what I still plan to do between now and the marathon. Hopefully if you are reading this and looking for fundraising inspo – this may help!

  1. Bake sales

Never underestimate the power of cake! I did a bake sale at work a month ago and was really surprised with how well it went down. If you work in a small team, then you could try organising one amongst friends and family.

A few colleagues offered to bake for me. We made over £100! As this was such a success I have planned another bake sale for next week which will be Bake Off/Halloween themed. Those who are baking are competing for the title of ‘Star Baker’ and will win a small prize. The Star Baker will be voted by everyone who purchases a cake. As the Bake Off final is the same day, its perfect timing!

2. Pub quiz

I did a pub quiz last month and so many friends and family members turned up. This was a joint event that I organised with my friend Fil, who is also running the London Marathon.

The pub quiz was on a Thursday night (almost all pubs will refuse to do this on a weekend without charging). The pub staff were very supportive on the night. They organised the Quiz Master, who gave up his evening in exchange for a few beers, the pub also helped out with other things such as decorating and selling the raffle tickets for us. On top of this they donated a couple of bottles to the raffle. Not all pubs will be as generous, I think we were very lucky.

The prize for the winning team was half of the kitty, however the Quiz Master asked the winning team if they wanted to donate their winnings back to the charity. The winning team was made up of family and friends, who were obviously happy to do this.

We also bought some chocolates and alcohol and ran a raffle on the night which was very popular. We split all the takings from the night between both charities.

3. Music gig

On 4th November my friend and I are holding a music gig. We contacted multiple bands and singers months ago and in the past few weeks a few have had better offers come up and dropped out, which is always a risk, luckily have now found replacement acts.

For ‘Music for Marathon’, I designed some leaflets and we have been handing them out around the town.

At the event we are also doing a few games like ‘guess how many sweets in the jar’ and we have put together a raffle with some great prizes. We contacted local businesses such as theatres, escape rooms, independent restaurants and shops and who came back and were very happy to offer us something. We did only hear back from about 5% of the people we contacted though – so be prepared for this if you decide to do something similar.

The event is being held at a music venue which is owned by a close friend, but most music venues will be happy to do something if you give them enough notice (3-4 months in advance).

4. Charity bootfair

A couple of months ago Fil and I did a charity bootfair. We sold things we no longer wanted and also put some posts on Facebook to see if any friends or family had anything they were happy to give away. We received many generous donations for this. On the day we decorated the stall with balloons our charities had sent us and also made some bunting and signs so people could see it was for charity. This went very well and we made £200.

Ahead of the bootfair we contacted the organisers and mentioned we would be doing it for charity. They allowed us to have the pitch for free.

5. Work sweepstake

Closer to the marathon I plan on running a sweepstake where people will pull from the hat a finishing time. Whoever gets the time closest to the time I finish will take half of the money raised, the rest will go to charity.

6. Social media

I am being careful not to bombard my social media followers with requests for charity, however every 1-2 months I am posting my link and usually I receive one or two donations from people. Most people will likely donate much closer to the event though.

If you enjoyed reading, you can subscribe to keep up with my future posts. The link to subscribe is on my homepage! 🙂

I know what I am doing for Halloween! #Ad

Last month a few friends and I were discussing what to do for Halloween this year. We went through various websites but it seemed difficult to find something to do that doesn’t have a big price tag attached to it. For instance, to go to a theme park event you’re looking at a cost of around £50 per person, plus you still have to get there and pay for food on top of the entry fee.

One of my friends has a 5 year old daughter so we’ve been looking into all options for something fun, accessible and cheap to do, during the day, that she can enjoy and that we can all enjoy with her.

This year, we will all be heading to Bromley town centre for their huge street event. There is so much to do for people of all ages, including pumpkin painting, sugar skull decorating and you can watch a professional carve pumpkins (I kind of wish I had ‘Professional Pumpkin Carver’ as my job title, just saying).
We are also going to try the trick or treat trail. There will be ten painted skulls hidden in the window displays of The Glades Shopping Centre, if you find them all you win a Halloween treat. I love hunting for things, I think I get more involved than the kids. I’m the same at Easter egg hunts, I won’t give up until I find them all. I actually once spent a day walking around the local shopping centre trying to find the seven dwarves for a Snow White pantomime competition. The competition was aimed at people who were a third of my age, but I took part anyway.

The thing thats really good about this event is that in the evening the space gets transformed into a Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. After spending the day there, we will be going back to get changed and then the ‘grown ups’ will be going back dressed in our costumes for the evening activities.

There will be fire performers, a performance from the Voodoo Love Orchestra and adult face painting. All the food and drink for the event is being provided by Benitos Hat (I am yet to find somewhere who makes burritos as good as Benitos Hat do), there is going to be churros, street food, margaritas and mexican beer.
Entry is completely free for the entire event and Bromley is right on our doorstep, so why not! I am going to be going dressed as a sugar skull, so I’ll probably look like the mascot for the event.

For full details and to reserve your free place during the day or evening, you can visit www.yourbromley.com/DOTD

A reflection on my marathon journey so far

I’ve been training now for 6 months. There have been times where I’ve wondered why I’m doing this, when I can’t pull myself out of bed at 5am to go and train, times where as I’m running all I want is for it to be over. I’ve had times where I wished I could do better and I’ve had moments where I just want to quit, to withdraw my place from the marathon and say ‘I am not good enough’. Being a runner takes work and not just physically, a lot of it is mental work. But being a runner is an amazing, life changing experience.

When I say the words ‘I am a runner’ I say them with pride. I’m proud of my hobby and although I still have a long way to go before I am ready to take on London, I know I can do it.

On Sunday I took part in the Givaudan 10k which is my local 10k run. It is an annual event and this year it sold out. The whole Ashford running community came out to run Sunday and I felt so emotional and so proud to be running alongside so many amazing people. As I ran through the streets that I grew up in and past spectators who knew me, calling out my name, I felt so humble. I just can’t put into words how much I loved it.

I have met so many incredible people in the past 6 months. Similar to me, a lot of them lost a lot of weight and they’re now running to get fitter and better. This is what makes running such a good sport. I do it for nobody other than me. When I run, listening to music, it’s just me, my music and my thoughts and I feel like I can take on the world. I run, not to compete with others, but to compete with myself.

In April I couldn’t run 5km without stopping to catch my breath, now I am running through my home town with experienced runners and I fit in. As I look back on this incredible journey so far I just cannot believe what I’ve achieved. I ran one of the hardest half marathons in the UK. I did a 10mile run on a Thursday evening, after a long day at work, without stopping. I got a sub 27 pb at ParkRun just a few weeks ago. I’ve always been somebody to go out there and grab the bull by the horns. That’s just me. But out of everything I’ve done in my life, becoming a runner is the thing that’s filled me with the most pride.

I never set out to get into running. If I am being totally honest, I hated the idea of it. The idea of cars driving past as I’m sweaty and gross? No thanks. I used to run on the treadmill at the gym and I started to really enjoy it, as I saw the progress each time, I wanted to do more of it. It got to the point that whenever I went to the gym, most of the session was spent on the treadmill. I would imagine my family and friends cheering me on as I ran a big race. Then that vision became a vision of me completing the London marathon, then the next thing I know I’m signing myself up to do it. One of my best friends is a really experienced runner. She and I would go for runs in the morning. I was awful! I had to stop every few seconds. But she really inspired me and encouraged me and now we are both running the marathon next year together. I am so thankful to her for pushing me in this direction.

Training through the Winter is going to be tough. Cold, dark and early mornings. I’m dreading them. But I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.

Follow my journey in pictures on Instagram: @marshmallowstomarathons

There comes a time

My elder family members have always told me that there comes a time in life where you just stop caring what people think of you or trying to impress. I think I am reaching that point. I have spent so much of my life worrying if people don’t like me and going out of my way for people and recently I have just stopped. Why should you have to try for people? Friendships and relationships should come naturally. They can’t be forced and if they are, well then they aren’t genuine.

I own a t-shirt with a quote on it that I absolutely love ‘expect nothing, appreciate everything’. The moment you stop expecting anything from anyone you’ll feel so much happier. How can people let you down if you expected nothing from them in the first place? Sure, there are general expectations from relationships that come as standard, but asides from that, just find happiness in you. Don’t look for it in anyone else.

Joe and I got engaged last month [[insert huge smiley face emoji here]]. This is one of the biggest, most exciting things, that could ever happen to me. It has been interesting though, to see how the reactions differ between friendships. Some friends and family members cried as they were so happy and excited for us, there were a couple of friends who didn’t really show any interest though. At first I was disappointed by this, then I thought more into it and and simply decided ‘fuck ’em’.

Another friend who is getting married this month said to me a few weeks ago that she learned who her true friends were when she started planning her wedding and I now totally get what she means. There will be people who are unhappy for you because it isn’t them, there will be others who have an opinion of how you want your day to be, there will be people who show an interest when actually they aren’t happy for you, they are just nosy, then there will be others who just don’t show any interest at all, but screw it. I know who my true friends are. I know who I want to be a part of my big day and ultimately this isn’t about anything other than me marrying my best friend.

I have a great support network around me of friends and family. Since getting a place in the London Marathon and getting engaged, it has taught me so much. But actually the one thing I have learned is don’t pay attention to those who aren’t there for you, just value those who are. I have the best family and best friends. With training for a marathon, working full time in London and now planning a wedding, I don’t have time to try for anyone else. You are either part of my life, or you’re not. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

So folks, the message in this post is stop caring about people who don’t give a sh*t about you and just value those who do. Part of getting older is realising that actually you don’t like people very much anyway.

The 5 things I discovered for losing weight

A few weeks ago I shared a photo on my Instagram (@marshmallowstomarathons) of a photo I found of myself from a girls holiday to Zante 6 years ago vs a bikini photo of me now. After posting the photo I received quite a few messages from people asking for recommendations and it made me feel quite emotional. To know I’ve got to a point in my journey where I can hopefully inspire others is such an incredible thing.

I have learnt a lot over the past few years. The main thing I have learnt is that dieting isn’t an overnight thing. It is a lifestyle change. This is why it took me 6 years of yo-yo dieting and the occasional plateau before I finally got to a size I feel happiest. This journey has been as much about educating myself as it has been about waking up for those 6am hiit sessions. Learning about dieting and exercise is what has helped me most. I was clueless in 2011. I thought that if I would just cut everything out of my diet and only eat Rye crackers, the weight would just fall off me.

FYI, the Rye crackers diet lasted 3 days before I went out and bought a Big Mac meal.

I thought I would share with you all the top 5 things I learned about losing weight and what got me to the point I am at now.

1. Don’t use sad steps
Joe Wicks calls scales ‘sad steps’ and I fail to find a better name for them. The last time I weighed myself was over a year ago. When I was weighing myself it was once a month minimum. Now, my only measurement is how I feel. The problem with the scales is that when dieting and exercising your weight will fluctuate. You will have weeks where the weight is dropping off you and then occasionally you’ll have a week where nothing shifts. That doesn’t mean your body isn’t losing weight.

You will also have some weeks where you’ll suddenly gain a few pounds and you’ll completely freak out. That is normal too. That doesn’t mean that the sneaky sugar cube you added to your coffee earlier in the week has made you fat. If you are exercising, you must remember that muscle weighs more than fat. So some weeks you’ll weigh more before you weigh less. If you’re sticking to your plan then rest assured, your body is doing what it needs to.

2. Change the way you look at other people
The moment I stopped looking at people on Facebook and Instagram and comparing myself, that’s when things started to get easier for me. I fully encourage following fit and healthy people on instagram. I follow more hot women on instagram than men, because I like inspiration. I don’t look at them to compare myself, I look to them for support and to idolise. When my alarm goes off at 5.30 and I am scrolling through Instagram with one eye open, it helps to suddenly see Kayla Itsines’ abs. It makes me push myself out of bed and go and work for my own abs.

3. Dieting isn’t about cutting everything out
Dieting is about customising what you eat. Making gradual changes rather than going cold turkey on everything. I made gradual adjustments to my diet over time. So I first cut out chocolate, did that stop me eating carrot cake? Christ no. I just knew chocolate was something I needed to cut out and it has now been 6 years since I last eat it! Cut out some things, not all. Give up fast food, but still treat yourself occasionally. Maybe limit to once a month to begin with. That’s what I do. If you love fizzy drinks, trade them all in for coke zero to begin with. Limit yourself to one a day. Reduce your portion sizes, small portions but more regularly.

4. Daily adjustments
In addition of doing my morning workouts I also made adjustments to my day. For example, I avoid lifts and take the stairs all the time. I very rarely get the tube and I now walk to the office or to meetings. We sold the car which has also encouraged us to walk more. Walking is something I now enjoy. I hate being stuffed into a busy tube or lift. I much prefer walking and I’ve found that in some cases it’s actually quicker!

5. Meal prep
My biggest flaw used to be that I’d grab food on the go when work was busy, don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments. But I now prep meals. I buy sandwich ingredients on a Monday and make my sandwich at lunchtime. On a Sunday I cook our meals for the week and we always plan what we are eating each day. Having a plan stops you from considering a McDonald’s, which let’s face it, is so much easier to do than to deciding what to cook when you’re hungry.

Over time I have made so many changes to my lifestyle but I will never look back. I very rarely get food guilt now. When I have a cake, or on the occasions I do have a takeaway I enjoy it. I don’t have any food regrets at all. It’s taken a long time to get here, but these are the main things which have helped me. Start small, then work your way towards your goal if you want the weight to stay off. It is all fair and well trying to shift it all as quickly as you can, but I promise you that quick diets result in quick weight gain too.

3 months since I decided to do the marathon

3 months ago I decided I was going to apply for the London Marathon. 3 months ago I decided that even though I didn’t know if I’d get in I’d start training anyway. I had a sudden panic earlier when I realised that 3 months have already gone by and then I reminded myself that I have come a long way in 3 months.

My first park run was 12 weeks ago. I did it in around 33 minutes and I had to stop several times to walk as I had a stitch and I was out of breath. To think that a couple of weeks ago I was able to run a 10k hilly route on a hot summers day, without stopping, in under an hour is just nuts. Three days ago I also ran 10 miles. I can’t quite believe how far I have come.

I still have a long way to go way with my training. As I increase the distance it’s going to be tough. Winter is going to be horrible. But to know how far I’ve come in 3 months and that I have treble that time to be able to run 26.2km, I feel confident I can do it.

My concern is that I’ll get an injury or something which will really interfere with my training. On Monday morning I have my first session with a running coach who is going to be helping me through the next 9 months. I feel better knowing I will be having some guidance.

My half marathon is in 4 weeks. I am really nervous but I’m going to go for it and hope for the best. Here is to another 3 months of training!

I GOT IN

I have a place in the London bloody Marathon! 26.2 miles, what on earth have I let myself in for?

The other day I decided I’d get up at 5.30am and do a 10.6km jog. I felt so good after it but then it dawned on me that the marathon is going to be 4 times the distance! A bit of sick just came up as I wrote that.

I have 9 months to prepare. The female body can grow a baby in that time so hopefully I can grow some courage and be fine come race day. Motivation for me isn’t something I lack. Which I guess is fortunate given that most people struggle with that. I just struggle with the time aspect. It is really hard to fit training around work and I think I am going to really struggle in the winter months to go out and train. I hate the cold and I have really sensitive feet and hands so I’m not going to enjoy this at all.

I have a few half marathons planned between now and then to keep me working towards something at all times. My first half marathon is in a few weeks. Knowing I am going to be doing the full marathon has suddenly made this feel less daunting.

Hills are also the devil. I am hoping to get enough hill training in before April. I did a 10km this weekend and that was so hilly. A lot of the route was also on grass. It was not pleasant. I’m aiming to go out and do hill sprints at least one day a week.

Another thing that also concerns me is my unpredictable bladder and stomach. I try to *cough* ’empty’ as much as I can before running but sometimes my body just feels like giving up halfway through. It is strange as I’m fine as soon as I get home, I no longer need the loo. Irritating. I’m worried about this for race day.

Another thing I need is some new footwear. Mine are super reliable so to be honest, I don’t think I would mind if I bought exactly the same pair again, but I am going to speak to a specialist about what sort of trainer I should be wearing. The fabric of my socks tends to rub against the soles of my feet during long runs so I’m on the look out for some running socks as well.

My diet still isn’t brilliant. I am trying to get this back on track. The good thing is that eating carbs before a run is encouraged (yay for running!) I think I just need to look at the sort of food I’ve been eating. Particularly with my unpredictable stomach. Weight has just been falling off me since I started running, so dieting isn’t to lose weight by any means, but eating the right sort of foods at the right times is going to be really important as I get closer to the big event.

Finally, I need to raise £2,000! I have a few ideas of things I can do so I’ll start fundraising properly once my half marathon is out of the way. I don’t want people to get confused with what they are supposed to be sponsoring me for and I’ve already doubled my target for the half now. I have a few ideas of things I can do which I’ll blog about in the very near future.

I am documenting my training on my new Instagram page (@MarshmallowstoMarathons) so feel free to check that out.

EEEEK. I am terrified. Here is to the next 9 months folks! Any marathon tips for fundraising or training would be great…

Bert died

Bert was our hamster. We found him in the adoption area of Pets at Home in December 2015. We had gone to Halfords as I was getting my bike fixed and whilst we waited we decided to go and look at the animals in Pets At Home. We had no intention of getting a pet, but then we met Bert.

It was early afternoon and all the other hamsters were sound asleep, but not Bert. He was running on his wheel and kept coming towards the window as if he was saying ‘hello’. We found out his former owners had given him back to the store and we were not sure how long he had been waiting for a new family. We gave it some thought and called our landlord to ask if the ‘no pets’ policy included hamsters too but he said it was ok for us to keep Bert.

Actually the story was that I pretended a family member was unwell so had asked us to take care of their hamster and when he asked me what the name was I panicked and said ‘Mavis’. So the landlord thought poor old Bert was a girl.

Bert had a different name when we got him. But we decided to rename him and when we were going through all the names we could think of Joe excitedly suggested ‘Bert’ and we both just knew we’d found his name.

We had to stop off at Joe’s work that day and I waited in the car with Bert in his little Pets at Home box. He was rummaging around in the box which was on my lap and all of a sudden his nose appeared through one of the breathing holes. He had managed to escape the smaller box by chewing through it and had stuck his nose through the hole. It was probably a ‘you had to be there’ moment but it was so funny. When Joe came back into the car I showed him the box with Bert’s nose sticking out and we just both sat there laughing and taking photos.

I remember the following morning I went to check on Bert before going to work and he was sound asleep. So I gave him a little stroke and went to put my shoes on. When I walked back into the living room he was sat on his little ledge staring out as if to say ‘hey, you woke me up! Come and play with me then?’

Bert really wasn’t your average hamster. He was so full of life and had his own little personality. About a year ago we read somewhere that hamsters like melon so we, of course, went out and bought him a melon. We would hold a small slice of it to his bed and he would sit there eating it from your hand. He couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

If you knew the amount we spent on treats and food for Bert you’d probably be horrified. I don’t think any other hamster in the world has fresh melon broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and spinach delivered weekly. We spoiled Bert because he was family.

As time got on Bert got slower and more tired. That didn’t stop him making us laugh though. He had his own personality right up until the end. On Sunday night Bert was struggling to stay awake. He was so sluggish and also really cold. We tried to warm him up by wrapping him up and we laid him to rest in our duvet late afternoon. When Joe came to check on him before bedtime we had realised he had gone to hamster heaven.

I honestly didn’t know how upset I would be when Bert died. I knew I’d be devastated but for the past few days I just haven’t stopped crying! We buried him in a box in mum’s garden with a few of his favourite treats, including his most favourite treat which was monkey nuts. He didn’t like eating them, he just loved removing the nuts from the shell. We also put a photo of us both in the box and then planted a pot plant and a cross with his name on it. The cross wasn’t planned, mum just happened to convienitely have a miniature wooden cross kicking around so we wrote his name on it and stuck it in the ground.

So many friends have sent lovely messages because they all knew what a huge character he was. One friend even cried herself when finding out as she adored Bert. I don’t think you’d ever find a hamster like Bert. He was one of a kind and we miss him so much. It feels like a huge part of our life has been torn out and an empty hole has been left. That’s the impact one little furry boy had on our lives.

Rest in peace Bertles. We love you.

Running update

Running is going pretty well. I have sussed out a new route locally which originally started as a 7km and I am gradually adding little excursions which is extending the distance. I have so far managed to get it to 10.6km which is great. I am going to try to extend it even further this week as I think I have figured out a way of bumping it up to 12km.

Next Saturday I am running a 10km Race For Life with two of my best friends. I am really looking forward to it and am going to try to get a good time. I would like to be able to finish in under an hour. Race for life events are always such a great atmosphere and you just feel so overwhelmed when you finish. I wish all my runs could have marshals cheering me along the route! I think that is what makes ParkRun so great. Having the positive support from others really helps to motivate me.

I am still going to ParkRun every Saturday. I have now been 11 times. When I started my time was around 33minutes. I have now managed to get a pb of 27.14 minutes which feels incredible. I would like to be able to get the time to around 26minutes in the next couple of months.

I have put a timetable together for the next 8 weeks ahead of my half marathon. This includes two big runs a week where I will be gradually increasing my distance, Park Run on Saturdays where I aim to increase my speed, 1 gym session a week to focus on muscle training and core strength and 1 evening/morning of hill reps to increase my endurance with hills, as I am told the half marathon route is pretty hilly.

Overall I am still highly motivated, still loving running and still seeing progress. The one area I really need to work on is my diet as that still isn’t brilliant. I have started being better with my lunches, as I went through a spell of buying Boots meal deals daily which was neither healthy or cost effective. I also need to plan our evening meals a bit better as recently Joe and I have been opting for the easier and unhealthy option.

London to Brighton in 30 degrees of heat

Yesterday, myself Harriet and Aurore all took part in the London to Brighton cycle, in 30 degrees of heat. It was so difficult. I struggle with too much heat as it is, but fighting through the hills and miles on a bike was such a challenge. We set off from Ashford at 6.30am. None of the coffee shops were open that early and I can’t function early without coffee so I started to panic. Luckily there were a group of station staff all dressed in Lycra, on their day off, who were also doing the challenge. They each had a coffee cup in their hand and very kindly offered me a cup from the staff room coffee machine. I realised at that point that I actually have a real addiction to coffee.

Harriet and Aurore met me at the station and we got the train to Orpington, we then changed and got the train to Brixton. From Brixton it was about a 10 minute cycle to Clapham Common. We had just enough time to have a wee, take the ‘before’ photo and then before we knew it we were setting off.

London was quite congested because of the traffic lights. A lot of roads were closed off which helped but it did take a little while to get out of the city. It felt like quite a long time before we were pulling into the first stop at Mile 10. I kept thinking about a nice cold can of coke, it was all I could think about for the first 10 miles. You can imagine my disappointment when I got to Mile 10 to find they didn’t sell anything other than sports drinks and water. We sat and had some snacks and then we were off again, planning to meet at Mile 20.

Mile 20 was quite a big place to stop however there was no where to sit in the shade, so we decided to keep going until mile 30. There were no cans of coke at Mile 20 either, so I had given up hoping I would find one after this point. Harriet and Aurore both went off ahead of me and I decided to go at a slow leisurely pace behind. The heat was really tough to cycle in and I really didn’t want to exhaust myself too early on in the journey.

As I got to Mile 25 I heard the pop of somebody opening a can, it could have been beer, it could have been canned tuna, I had no idea, I braked so hard I think I almost caused an accident. I was so excited to find cold cans of coke that I didn’t even care they were being sold for £1.50 each(!!!)

I sat on the grass alongside the road and a group of 3 guys came and sat just behind me. I had no signal on my phone so I entertained myself by listening in on their conversation. They were saying that they each bought a bike 3 weeks ago and hadn’t done any training for this. One of them was wearing swimming trunks, so didn’t have any padding. Knowing how much us girls had practised and prepared for this cycle, it is absolute madness that others were so casual about it! I don’t think I could have completed yesterday in one piece if I hadn’t trained as much as we did. The guys all said they were not going to attempt the Beacon and that very few people manage it. At that point I decided I probably wouldn’t attempt it either.

I carried along to mile 30 where I had planned to meet the others. I didn’t have any signal to let them know where I was so had expected them both to have left by the time I arrived. The route from 25-30 was extremely hilly and it took me a while to do those 5 miles. Luckily they were both still there when I arrived. I bought a sandwich and another can of cold coke from the shop and we all sat on the grass for a while. The next stop we agreed to meet at was mile 45, so 15 miles ahead, this would be the last stop before the beacon.

I met Aurore at mile 45 and then we both saw Harriet fly past the stop, not realising we were both there. We set off again soon after and then realised we had gone to the stop just before the last stop, by the time we got to the final stop Harriet had already left. I stopped for a few minutes to have some water and cool down and then I went on to the beacon.

I expected the beacon to be a few miles down the road. I was cycling up a beastly hill which seemed to be never ending. A lady who was walking alongside me as I cycled confirmed that I was on the beacon, the adrenaline from realising I was cycling up the bloody beacon gave me enough energy to get 1/3 way up where I saw Harriet. Neither of us could believe I was still peddling and she seemed just as excited as I was about it which also gave me a bit of a push to keep going. I had no idea how long was left. I was really struggling to breath and all of the walkers were really encouraging me to keep going (but also really worried that I was about to collapse) At the top of the Beacon there was a guy with a megaphone encouraging people up, I had come so far, I felt like I was going to be sick or faint but I didn’t want to quit, so I kept pushing. I made it to the top and knowing I cycled the ghastly beacon was the best feeling ever. I met Aurore at the top who had also managed to cycle the Ditchling Beacon.

As I got off the bike my legs were wobbling like jelly, I couldn’t stand so fell to the spot next to Aurore where I was able to recover. When Harriet joined us we went to treat ourselves to an ice cream and then set off for the final 6 miles of the journey. Going through the finish line and hearing everyone cheer was the most amazing feeling. It was so emotional and I am so proud of us all for doing it. I would absolutely recommend London to Brighton to anyone.

My 7 top tips would be:

  1. Dress appropriately – Padded shorts are a must. I wore padded leggings and it was too hot so definitely wear padded shorts.
  2. Training – Get in as much mileage as you can before you go. Especially hill training.
  3. Take a decent bike – Strong tyres, good gears, a comfortable seat are all important.
  4. High energy foods – Bananas, protein snacks, energy gels, you need to be well fuelled along the route
  5. Hydration – I took x3 water bottles, two were attached to my bike and one was in my back pack. This was enough for half the route, after that I had to keep topping up.
  6. Sun block – I made sure my arms were protected but forgot about my face which is looking very red today.
  7. Take cash – I took my bank card and a bit of change but had to borrow some money from Harriet as most of the stops were cash only.