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Bryan Running


The Universe opened up and presented me with an opportunity. Or maybe better described as a big fat challenge: to run the London Marathon with only 7 weeks to go.
A friend who works for a small local charity was hastily searching for a replacement for their fundraising runner - now injured and unable to take part. I always wanted to run one marathon before my days were done, but honestly after a few years of unsuccessful ballot applications and a lanky body getting older and stiffer by the year, I’d thought my window had passed.

I’ve run a couple of half marathons in the last five years and “enjoyed” both. Even those are achievements my 30-year self would have thought impossible. Running a marathon is sooo far out of my zone. But I know the universe just enough to know that when a scary door opens, I have to say yes out loud, lean into it and grab hold of the doorknob before I talk myself out of it and it disappears…
Bryan Run cycle LR
No sooner had I said yes and leaned in, I found myself in Galway, Ireland, running a visual workshop for the good people at the CESI conference. I’d decided to take my running shoes with me and get out for a 15km hufflepuff after the workshop - the first run of that sort of length I’d done in a couple of years.
Bryan Run cycle
After a kilometre or so, I got a bit confused by Google Maps coverage of the area. I was struggling to find the start of a path that hugged the railway line into the centre of town. An old woman walking her dog happened to be on the other side of the road. She was dressed top to toe in all-weather gear - maybe expecting more of the snow that had fallen that morning. Being over two feet taller than the woman and about 6.5 feet taller than her dog, I was wary of scaring them both. I asked her how to get on the path and she kindly offered to show me the way, through the housing estate.
some local guidance
“Are you training for something?” she asked.

“Well, just a couple of days ago I signed up for the London Marathon”, I replied, glad for the opportunity to impress.

“Oh! I’ve run 40 marathons”, she said. “My favourite was New York. This was back in the mid-80s mind you. You had to get a certificate from another recognised race to get in.”

In the days before fancy running gear and super light running shoes.
In the days before playlists and smart watches and energy gels…

“I ran London three times…” she said and when she offered to show me the longer way around through the army land, over the Pitch & Putt course, I was happy to tag along with her and the dog - despite the cold. And we got talking about running and about politics. The North and the South. Local knowledge.

“It doesn't matter who you are”, she said, “you hit the wall at 20 miles. Just remember it’s all in the head and if you’ve done your training, you can get through it…”

And as I ran on the path she’d pointed out, to the docks and on to Salthill and Blackrock with Galway Bay as flat as a mirror, save for the fluorescent bobbings of wild swimmers, I thought to myself: Not only does the Universe send opportunities, but it sends guides to help you get there as well…
Small stitches of sustainability
Given a fair wind and as long as my legs remain attached, I’ll be running the London Marathon on Sunday 21st April. If you’re in town, give me a wave! I’m raising money for a local sustainability charity and if you sponsor me you can reply to this email and suggest a banging track for my Marathon playlist!
All sponsorship humbly received
With a bit of luck I’ll see you on the other side!


bryan in the canon


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