The Westmorland GazetteIce bath signals entry to the marathon's final furlong (From The Westmorland Gazette)

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Ice bath signals entry to the marathon's final furlong

AS most of the sporting world gears up for the Aintree Grand National in two week's time I find myself entering the final furlong in my London Marathon quest.

After six years of trying to get into the world's greatest marathon event, I finally got signed up with the Epilepsy Society in October and the last five months have been very enjoyable, but also taken me on a rollercoaster.

And now I am sat here having completed my final long run before race day and while I am in some pain, I feel prepared for London now.

In the last two weeks I have injured my back and ribs, taken seven days off running, ran a 10 mile loop on Thursday and now I have ran 22 miles.

Yes, 22 miles! Before today I had talked about my dream to complete a marathon and thought that while training would be difficult, it would be achievable.

Today, I found out the hard way just what it means to run a marathon.

Having mapped out a route that took me from Kendal to Burneside and over to Skelsmergh and then back to Kendal three times, I felt at relative ease until mile 15.

From that point on, it was difficult and I found some spots which were really hard and others where my legs could cope.

But the pain I endured from mile 19 all the way to my finishing point let me know I can dig deep and hopefully it stands me in good stead for the race around the Capital in 21 days.

And the time for 22 miles you ask? Well it was 3.19.39! I couldn't have been happier with the time given the pain in my legs.

After a very long cool down I plummeted to new depths by hopping into - and sitting in for 16 minutes - an ice cold bath.

I think my housemates found the shrieks of horror from the bathroom amusing, but I certainly didn't. Every slight movement caused little waves and with that the reminder of just how cold it really was.

And I've not been warm since.

So with three weeks to go I am nearing my fundraising target with just over £1,800 collected and I hope I can push beyond £2,000 and pay back the Epilepsy Society for all the support and faith they have placed in me since I signed up in October.

Having completed my final long run I am very excited for London but a little bit deflated as I know I am nearing the end of my running career.

I realised with my 18 mile and 22 mile runs that as the doctors said six years ago, my knees are not going to stand up to constant impact sports such as running.

So I must follow my doctors advice and stop running after London.

My knees have been in a lot of pain in the last few months and I can't afford to damage them further, so following the best of advice I will stop.

So in some ways I'm not just entering the final furlong on my training but my entire running career and that is why getting around the 26.2 miles is so important to me.

I know that I will never do it again. Who knows if I will do another London Marathon, but if I do, I'll be walking it.

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