Reading time: 2 minutes and 23 seconds (finishing time 4 hours and 40 minutes)
Imagine being surrounded by 36,000 superheroes….
On Sunday I had the honour of running the London Marathon. I was humbled by the whole day. Everywhere I looked I saw ordinary people doing quite extraordinary things.
Each and every runner had spent the bitter winter months fitting a gruelling training programme around their busy lives.
These heroes had been pounding the pavement at every hour of the day and night – building up, preparing for the challenge ahead. Logging those miles and hours, tending those blisters and chafed nipples, stretching those aching limbs one more time.
Every hero had their own motivation to be there. The vast majority were raising money for charity – fighting disease, helping vulnerable children, getting clean water to Africa, finding a cure for cancer.
Reading their shirts told a story – “In memory of Lily”, “Running for Mum”, “Doing it for Derrick”. They felt compelled to make a difference for others, to bring a little light in the darkness, to remember those less fortunate. Proper heroes.
Some of these everyday heroes had taken it one step further. The pantomime camel manned by two people, the human caterpillar of 34 people tied together, the two men carrying a small boat, the heroes dragging a brick wall on a sledge.
Everywhere I looked was an endless stream of costumes (countless superheroes, Rocky, endless Elvises, some serious cross-dressing).
This was going above and showing superhuman support for something they believed in.
The spirit of the day was unbelievable. Huge crowds lined the streets from start to finish. They offered support to each and every runner.
They banged drums, played music, offered their hands, gave out sweets, drinks, fruit. They cheered endlessly “Come on Steve”, “Keep going Batman, you can do it”, “Nice work, Jean”. Without this support, I’m sure quite a few runners would never have made it to the end.
For one day, communities came together. Strangers joined for a common purpose. The atmosphere was electric and dripping positivity. In their own way, every supporter is a hero too. They played their unique part in a day that made a serious difference.
So how did my race go?
I loved each and every of the 30,000 strides.
I was running for the NSPCC (a charity aiming to stamp out cruelty to children). I got amazing support from friends and family and have so far managed to raise over £2,000. I want to publically thank each and every donor for their extraordinary generosity.
I got fantastic support all along the course from the amazing crowds, and particularly from my support crew (thanks Em, Celene and Andy).
I felt well prepared and stuck to my game plan, finishing in 4 hours 40 minutes and 10 seconds. At the end, I felt elated, overwhelmed and a little wobbly. It was such a buzz to be surrounded by so many Everyday Superheroes.
Being an Everyday Superhero
Reflecting on this experience it made me realize that we all have the potential to be everyday superheroes.
Every day, people go out of their way to help others. They volunteer, spend time with someone lonely, help out with the shopping, give up their seat on the bus. These acts make a huge difference and make the world a better place for all of us.
We’re surrounded by these wonderful people. Just walking down the street, you’re in the presence of someone with super powers.
You too have the power at your fingertips – every time you put someone else first you’re an everyday superhero. You have the power to make the world a little better every day.
Over to you
- What do you do to be an Everyday Superhero?
- Who do you admire who puts others first?
- What will be your next Everyday Superhero act?