My Marathon Story- Denise Huddleston

Rewind 2 years – when I first stepped through those doors at Newburn Leisure Centre and I was introduced to Katie Robson and Tina McIver. They had just completed Edinburgh Marathon and they were telling me all about it – I was in awe of what they had just achieved but I remember saying to them “I would never be able to run a Marathon” !!! Now fast forward 2 years and that’s exactly what I have done – I have just ran those 26.2 miles that is Edinburgh Marathon – and do you know what – I loved it !!!!

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It all started in April of 2013 – when I was watching the London Marathon on TV and looking out for my fellow Elswick harriers who were running. Something inside me just thought maybe I can do that !!! So I entered the ballot for the 2014 VLM and thought nothing more about it. Then in October – I was ‘Smurfed’ – I got the rejection magazine along with quite a nice VLM rain jacket – and also a guaranteed entry code for Edinburgh marathon !!!! I remember chatting to Katy Goulding about this and she said she had been talking to Gary Corkhill about doing Edinburgh marathon too – and for some crazy reason we decided to sign up for it – and Katy also managed to convince Laura Carrick it was a good idea to enter too !!!!

So we got Christmas and New Year out of the way and our 16 week training plan officially commenced on 3 February 2014 !!! Week 1 was crossed off before I knew it but then in week 2 we had a heavy snowfall on the Tuesday which meant I had to miss a training night !!! But Katie Robson came to my rescue and we made those miles I had missed back up the following night – when the rain was so hard it was bouncing off us – we couldn’t hear each other speak because the wind was so loud and we were basically like drowned rats when we finished – but I was so happy as I’d made those lost miles back up !!!

The weeks just seemed to fly by, I was living and breathing this training plan, I crossed every day off and my weekly mileage was going up and up until finally I was on the last page – with 4 weeks until Marathon Day !!!! Those long runs on Saturday were tough at times – and we couldn’t have done it without the help and support of Katie Robson and her support vehicle (bike) which had water, gels and anything else we needed to get those long runs clocked. Mary Lisle, my other half Patrick Gordon, Christine Lee, Lalage Brown – all helped out with the longer runs when they could which was great support. Gary was so busy with triathlons and all sorts going on but made it to the long runs when he could fit us in !!!

So on the morning of Saturday 24 May – we all met up at Newcastle Central Station – the 4 marathoners, myself, Katy, Laura & Gary plus the 4 half marathoners – Patrick Gordon, Antony Beynon, Mary Lisle and Ben Hall – plus our support Katie Robson and Emma Beynon (who apparently did a ‘Marathon’ shopping spree in Edinburgh) and off we went !!!! We arrived and went to the apartment to unpack and then we all had a walk to the start line so we knew where to head the next morning !!! I must admit I did start to feel the nerves kick in then !! A quick bite to eat then back to the apartment for the marathoners to chill out and try to relax while the halfers went and did the food shopping for us !!!

Patrick and Ant made us a feast of spag bol and garlic bread which went down a treat with everyone !!! An hour’s chill on the sofa then it was off to bed and lights out for the girls !!!!

I woke up early the next day – marathon day – and got up and wished the halfers luck and went back to bed for an hour – I didn’t sleep though. So back up, showered, breakfast and dressed and the 4 of us set off for the start. Gary’s start was London Road and the girls were Regent Road so we said good luck to Gary as he made his way to his start and we went off to ours. We managed to bump into Katy and Laura’s parents at the start who had travelled up for the weekend for support. The rain had just stopped at this point and off came the ponchos and we were ready for the off !!!! We all had the signals ready on our Garmin’s as we moved slowly to the starting line which we could now see from the top of the hill. I was told it was a fast downhill start so I was conscious not to go off like the clappers too soon – and we were off !!!!

We ran through the City Centre and then out towards Arthurs Seat where Dave Jardin was standing on the grassy hill shouting words of encouragement and support. Then it was out towards the Coast and along the seafront – where Dave appeared again – he must know lots of short cuts through Edinburgh as he seemed to pop up every few miles – he did later tell us he had ran between 17-20 miles to get from place to place !!! At mile 8.5 and over the little bridge we seen an Elswick vest hanging on the barrier – and all of the halfers were there cheering us on which was a much needed and fantastic boost to spur us on. Also thanks to Harry and Kim Mathews who were also on route cheering us all on and offering support. Just seeing a friendly face of someone you know is a great help.

Further along the coast we then spotted the Elswick 6 who had very kindly travelled up for the day to support – Joanne Lucking, Mel Reed, Lindsey Grant, Leah Avery, Jackie Avery and the VERY loud Tina McIver !!! At mile 18 the sun came out and it was rather hot !!! Then we turned and headed back towards Musselburgh – to the finish !!! I must admit those last 6 miles were tough going – I ran through gritted teeth though and at mile 24 there were the halfers again – cheering us on and giving us words of encouragement – Mary and Ant ran a little way in with me – which spurred me on and I picked up my pace to get me to the (downhill) finish. I crossed the line on 4:03:02. I had ran a Marathon !!!! I was going through every emotion possible now and I did cry – but I’m sure they were tears of happiness at what I had just achieved.

We all met up under the letter ‘E’ for Elswick, where Jonny Lowes, Yvette Devlin, Steven Wilkins, Michelle Coleman and Joe Capocci were also there and shared our tales of the day. There was another torrential downpour – and thunder – to soak us through just in time for our journey back into Edinburgh to get glammed up for our well deserved night out !!!

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I chose to run for MacMillan Cancer Care as I think they work they do is fantastic and I think everyone knows someone or has been affected by someone with Cancer. The support from MacMillan on route was fantastic and as they give you a vest with your name on to run in so lots of people were shouting my name which also spurred me on.

Some of my memories during the training programme: Katy Goulding carrying an ‘emergency £1 coin’ – just in case !!! Just in case of what I’m not sure – but the only think I could think of using this emergency £1 coin was for a Tesco shopping trolley to push us all back in !!!!

Being out in the thunder and lightning – which as some of you may not know I’m absolutely petrified of – with Jackie Avery and Leah Avery – because when you are marathon training – nothing gets in your way (other than snow) – even if it is your worst fear – luckily we didn’t get struck !!!

I wish I could bottle that feeling I felt as I crossed the finishing line because it’s something no one can ever take away from me and is something that will stay with me forever !!!!

So would I do another marathon – hell yeah – but I think I will settle for the Half next year – anyone care to join me ????

Denise Huddleston.

graham bell

A really nice and informative weekend report,Denise.Thanks for taking the time to put pen to paper.Congratulations on your marathon run. What a good turnout for Team Elswick in Edinburgh! Very impressive! And well done to all who took part at the weekend and supporters of TEAM ‘E!!’ Cheers, Graham.

tina mciver

Love your story Denise! I hope it inspires others to aim for what they perceive as unachievable! Well done, I feel priviledged to be part of your marathon story!

Iain Hardy

A fantastic read Tina…… You should be very proud of yourself ( I’m sure you are ) WELL DONE !!! Not forgetting all the other Elswick runners n support crew aswell !! Well done 2 u all……..

Katie Robson

What a lovely read!! I remember that run in the rain lol massive well done again! Like Tina I feel privileged to be part of your marathon story, I love my trophy thanks Denise, Katy and Laura

micky sideshow shore

really good read and i felt all my feeling again just reading it a very well done i hope to go though that pain soon if i get in to london if not edinbrugh here i come

jackie Avery

Great to hear your story Denise and to be part of it. I must admit me and Lindsay got emotional watching the runners finish the last mile and I was worried about the storm at the finish having experienced your thunder fear!! Well done all you E Harriers you are all inspirational….still no plans to run 26.2 miles though :)XX

Ben Hall

Great read Denise but you still haven’t convinced me to run those 26.2 miles though! great achievement to all you marathon runners – well done!

Sarah Stokoe

Don’t know why, but when I read that it brought tears to my eyes,! Such a massive achievement, and the fact you had so much support off everyone not only during your training, but during your huge acheivement for running 26.2 miles. Sounded like such a great weekend! Inspired me for the half, the full ………..mmmmmhhhh!!

Mary

Fab read babes – I cant believe you didn’t mention the pre-marathon quiz of the til receipt! Really proud of you and Benny Boy – you did say that a marathon is the only run missing!!!!!!! Mary x

Cindy Tinnion

That was a great write up Denise. Very WELL DONE on the marathon and the write up. Keeps beginners like me going!

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