Last Sunday was the re-scheduled 40th London Marathon. The annual event that raises millions for charity and sees the world's elite runners and wheelchair riders pitched against men wearing ladies underwear and women dressed as cakes.SCHEDULE A CALL
Because of the Covid 19 restrictions this year's race was cut to just the best of the best. Everyone else could run a 'virtual' race wherever they wanted. Anyone who had an entry place received a vest number as usual and told to go out and enjoy it. The thing is, and I know this from my 2017 experience of competing in the race, running 26.2 miles is a whole lot more achievable when there are thousands of people shouting your name, cheering you on and generally keeping you from getting on the next bus home from the Isle of Dogs. A great cloud of witnesses helping us run the race with passion and determination.
Watching the likes of Shura Kitata and Vincent Kipchumba battling it out in a sprint finish down the Mall, and second placed American mum Sara Hall, who at 37 chased down her opponents in the final stretches to post her personal best, I wondered if anyone was running locally that I could go and run alongside and cheer on.
I didn't have to go far as within about ten seconds of leaving the house I ran into a guy, with his race number just about clinging to his vest, dragging himself up the hill. Thinking he must be near the end I enquired 'How far have you gone?'. '12 miles' came the quiet, breathy response. Only another 14.2 to go. I jogged at a suitably social distance, we chatted and I did my best to encourage him, knowing that in all honesty, the worst was yet to come.
I never got his name and didn't remember his number so I don't know how he did, but I like to think that he picked up a bit after I left him and is right now telling the story of how a complete stranger ran with him and made him answer inane questions, when all he really wanted to do was find his next breath. Or a cab.
Running a business is a bit like running a marathon. In the current climate it's even more so. We need to be there for each other. Cheering each other on. Shouting encouragement from the sidelines. Getting alongside, even for a brief moment. We may grow weary, we may soar like eagles. Either way, let's do good. For ourselves and for others. And remember, in business you don't have to wear lycra (unless you want to) and the shoes are so much cheaper (unless you are my wife).
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