Please read Elaine's fantastic marathon story...
"I live in Horley with my husband and 3 children. Our eldest son James is 16, he has severe learning difficulties, epilepsy and presents with a mental age of 18 months.
On 23rd April 2017 I ran the London Marathon. I'm wasn't a runner, this was the first time I'd done anything like this so I was really out of my comfort zone with this challenge. Consequently I'd been training hard for the past year.
Running the marathon was the most humbling and amazing experience of my life! I will never ever forget the day I ran the London Marathon as long as I live. I believe the experience changes you as a person. Working so incredibly hard towards a purpose and then fulfilling that ultimate goal is the most truly satisfying feeling ever and as such I am eternally grateful to The Children With Special Needs Foundation for giving me the opportunity to run this year's London Marathon.
The challenge I embarked upon was an immense and huge journey, not just in mileage terms either. I'm a busy mum with 3 children and I also work. Trying to juggle home life with intense marathon training took its toll. It was as much a mental challenge as it was a physical one. The getting up early on a cold winter's morning to run 15+ miles, the sacrifices, missed social occasions, all very difficult but marathon training is not to be taken lightly. It's a serious business and all part of the long journey you sign up for when you agree to this crazy and mad challenge.
As far as the physical challenge was concerned, like many would-be marathon runners, I was blighted by injuries along the way. Over Christmas I suffered a calf injury. I saw this as a great excuse to have a fortnight off over the festive period, put my feet up (I wish!) and eat, drink and be merry. This episode of time off from running passed by, I was back on my feet in the New Year and all was well, training continued on par.
Then, far more worrying, 8 weeks before race day I suffered every runner's worst nightmare, a shin splint and suspected stress fracture to my tibia. So, not to be defeated, I found myself an amazing physio and I don't quite know how he managed it against all the odds, but, with ultra sound, acupuncture and 3-4 weeks off, I was back on my feet again. Of course at this point I was behind with my training and had lost fitness. At which point I had to make the difficult decision to ease back on mileage in order to just get round and finish the marathon rather than go out for a fast time, over-train and risk another overuse injury and (worst scenario) game up!
With the help and support of my physio and also my very supportive husband who revised my training plan for me (he's a Marathon runner himself) I was, thankfully, fit and ready on the start line of the London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April 2017.
I ran the Marathon in a time of 5:09 which I was very pleased with. Nothing could have prepared me for just how difficult a marathon is to run. In training I reached 20 miles in one run. You never run beyond this distance when you train as injury risk is just too great. With this in mind, once you hit 20 miles on race day, you're in unknown territory and that's when the race really begins. So, I have to say, true to form, the last 6 miles was the most difficult and gruelling run I'd ever undertaken. Coupled with the fact I 'hit the wall' at around mile 17, I really had to dig deep and use all my reserves to finish the race. Despite this, I ran all the way, no walking. I just kept the thought of my son and all the other special children who struggle on a daily basis close in my heart whilst I went round which I truly I believe got me across the finish line!!
I particularly wanted to raise funds for The Children With Special Needs Foundation to give them something back. In 2010 the CWSNF very kindly raised funds to provide James with a £1,500 off-road buggy and £6,000 adapted wheelchair bike. Both of these pieces of equipment have been invaluable and have enabled me and my husband to include James on family days out with his brother and sister, just like any normal family really!!
Also, more recently, our son's seizures have changed and become more life threatening. The Children with Special Needs Foundation have just purchased an epilepsy monitor (over £1,000 worth of equipment) which alerts us as soon as James has a night time seizure and also tells us if he stops breathing. It's vital we are aware of any seizure activity as soon as it begins in order to administer emergency medication as he is at risk of SUDEP (sudden unexpected death from epilepsy).
I also ran for this amazing charity so they may continue to help other local disabled children and families like ours and also because I could. James, our son, has limited mobility and would love to run free without pain as I do.... I ran for him and all the other special children supported by the CWSNF. "
Thank you Elaine xx