I was 29, I had just given birth to our second daughter and I needed an escape from the house. Initially it was just an occasional short run along the river where we lived, without a phone or a watch, just mindless running. It felt amazing to physically run away from the household and to see our neighbourhood – without pushing a cumbersome stroller.
I liked running for the time alone; seaking mental clarity rather than for fitness or weight loss. Then after the birth of our third daughter a friend encouraged me to log my runs on a social running app. That’s when my running changed and I started to run further and faster. I wanted to push myself more.
Our third daughter was 4 months old when I competed in my first Geneva half marathon. I loved it. I wanted to set my sights on a full marathon one day, but it still felt like a very distant long term goal. Even the idea of training for a marathon felt daunting.
Eventually my brother took up running too. With his encouragement I signed up to run the Athens Marathon with him. We liked that it was the ‘original marathon’ from the battlefields of Marathon finishing in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. It seemed perfect for our first marathon.
The Athens marathon was amazing, I loved every minute of it, I was so happy taking in the atmosphere of the event. From about 25km I felt a lump in my throat, I was welling up knowing my first marathon would be over soon, I didn’t want it to end, I was having such an amazing time. All the training and sacrifices all the mental energy I had given to this day, it’d all soon be over and I could never again run my first marathon. Perhaps that’s when I knew I had to keep running and Athens wouldn’t be my last marathon.