I was training for my second attempt at Chester Marathon.
At this point I was up to my longer Sunday runs and one particular attempt called for an 18 miler.
Having headed out at 1pm I quickly found myself sweating profusely on what was a particularly muggy day (not great weather for an asthmatic) and, about ten mile in, I’d ran out of water and managed to lose the emergency pound I take with me on runs. Luckily I was about a mile from my nana’s house and I was hoping she would be in because it was a long way back home for me if she wasn’t.
Having arrived at her door a little worse for wear she was thankfully in and quickly provided me with water and some biscuits.
We talked for the next few minutes about my running, my son and mine and my wife’s impending second child (a daughter). I got my breath back and got up to head back out for the seven mile trip back home. Before I went my nana told me she loved me but she also said she was proud of me and gave me a big hug. She then told me to be careful during my marathon and she’d be asking dad how I got on.
The next day my dad arrived at my door with a box of water as well as a box of haribo courtesy of my nana. She’d sent them so I had plenty to keep me going on my longer runs.
True to her word she asked my dad how I’d gotten on at Chester and when she was told that I’d beaten my previous attempt by 31 minutes she told him to tell me how pleased she was for me.
Over the next few months though my nana’s health slowly started to decline and she was in and out of hospital before passing in July of this year.
She was my only grandparent who’d survived long enough to see my running endeavours and she was genuinely interested in how I was getting on with it and told me a few times how proud she was and that she wished my Grandad had seen me achieve some of the things I had. She was always asking my dad how I was getting on with the running and she was always telling him to tell me to be careful.
And so I found myself training for another Autumn Marathon this year and a lot of my runs have drifted to thoughts of my nana and particularly that moment I described above.
Dublin will be my fourth marathon and it seems only fitting that I dedicate this one to my nana.
I’ll be careful…promise.