THE 7 THINGS THAT KEEP YOU GOING FOR 26.2 MILES - OR ANY LONG DISTANCE RACE: Siggy

1) MARATHON MUSIC

I created my very own Brighton Marathon playlist with songs that were motivational, uplifting and had a good cadence to run to. Going over the start, I put the playlist on shuffle.

I distinctly remember looking up and seeing the rolling hills weaving through to Ovingdean, past the Marina, and back into the city. This was where doubts began to creep in and where the pain in my leg from by IT band that flared during training really started to kick in. However, the sun was shinning and the atmosphere was buzzing. Two songs on my playlist, The Rolling Stones, You Can't Always Get What You Want and Bruce Springsteen's, Born To Run and at mile 23, the last 5k to go, FleetWood Mac's, Go Your Own Way, really gave me the motivation to push towards that finish line!

2) MARATHON SUPPORT (AND SOME DOUBTS) FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Having my friends' and family's support me throughout my marathon journey meant the world.

Even though, some of my nearest and dearest advised me to defer my place, as I was running on a re occuring IT band injury I knew mentally and apart from my leg, physically, I could do it! It made it more of a challenge, for sure. But having negative feedback about the injury only pushed me to work harder and achieve a once in a lifetime experience.

Yes, it is still super painful now after 26.2 miles, but I am taking measures to rehab it and will only come back stronger for the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon in Los Angeles in October.

Also having them there on the day, cheering me on throughout the whole endurance event was incredible special.

3) INSPIRATONAL RUNNERS

Pain is only temporary!

Is it? In some cases it's not. Every runner has a story, every runner has their whys!

During the BrIghton Marathon, other runners were amazingly supportive, tapping me on the back, shouting my name, which was permanently written with marker on my brand new Nike t-shirt for motivation.

Some runners had slogans on their vests including, "I Have MS...It's Tough this Marathon But I am Tougher'. I thought if they can do it, then I can! They were beyond inspirational and I felt privileged when running in that group with them.

So many were in pain, having similiar doubts and similiar tears and we all kept on going, trying harder, working smarter, together until we made it!

4) BREAKING DOWN THE DISTANCE

The first Half Marathon flew by. I was on target for between 04.15 hrs and 04.30 hrs until knee pain. But having done one 10k, I just thought okay, three more to go, or one half mrathon done, one more left. Or in training, I successfully did 20 miles, it's only a 10k more.

These thoughts really helped me stay in the zone, keep running and control my emotions and doubts.

5) REWARDING MYSELF - BACON SANDWICH OR SUNDAY ROAST, MAYBE?

To get more motivation, I was thinking, push one foot in front of the other, the closer to that finish line. And right, once I've done this, I can take a month off without sticking to an intense training schedule.

Half way, I thought 'I'd love a roast right now. Or a bacon sandwhich'. And then I realised just how long I was actually marathon running and had to make do with an energy gel.

6) THE CROWDS

Throughout the 26.2 miles spectators provided music and support which made the Brighton Marathon totally worth it The crowd was full of energy, with supporters handing out gels, oranges, water. I could not have made it without them.

7) GETTING TO THAT START LINE, CROSSING THAT FINISH

Before that one marathon race and receiving that shiny finisher's medal were days of running in every season, months of long solo runs, conditioning training at the gym, early to bed evenings, the sweat, the tears, the doubts and the blisters.

But I was determined throughout the 26.2 miles to get that medal. I kept thinking, I trained for it, I was going to finish it.

What Indescribable, irreplacable vibes. What an emotional endurance event race to be part of. My family, friends, the crowd, the atmosphere, everything. Totally worth it! Memories and moments that will last, forever.

I was running the Brighton Marathon because the number 26.2 was beyond poignant in my life, - at the age of 26, I thought I would set myself a huge challenge. I was born in St. Thomas's Hospital at 26.2 weeks so my plan was to enter the London Marathon 2016, running for Premature Babies but I didn't get a place (unless I pledged over £2000 for a charity entry).

At the age of 28 (26+2), I decided to just go for it and entered the Brighton Marathon 2018! However, during training, pounding those pavements and going too far ahead of schedule, I unfortunately damaged my IT Band so it was pulling painfully on the knee.

But I did it and I am now feeling beyond accomplished. I am now a Marathoner!

Siggy is a Sports and Body Massage FHT Therapist with her own treatment room in Worthing. Check out her website: www.sportsandbodymassage.com and get in touch for massage treatments.

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