Rob Smith recently took on the challenge of the Yorkshire Marathon in support of The Donkey Sanctuary. Here is Rob's story.
'I chose to fundraise for The Donkey Sanctuary in honour of my Nan, who sadly passed away only recently. She was an incredibly compassionate lady who loved animals and had a particular fondness for donkeys. Having registered for the 2015 Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon in a bid to complete my first marathon, it therefore seemed like a perfect opportunity to raise money in support of a cause that meant so much to her.
After completing the 100 mile Ride London cycling sportive in August, my focus turned to running. Previously, the furthest distance I had run was a half marathon, but I steadily built up the miles and was soon up to 15, then 18, and my final big push took me up to 20 miles. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I felt ready.
Thankfully, the weather on the weekend of the marathon was perfect - sunny but not too hot - making it ideal conditions for running, and bringing crowds of spectators out on to the streets to cheer us on. The marathon got under way at 9:30am and provided a tour of the beautiful city centre of York for the first few miles. By midday I was past the halfway point and on track for my target of 4.5 hours.
By mile 18 my legs were starting to feel much heavier, but I was buoyed by the high-fives and sweets offered up by the public along the roadside. Mile 22... feeling very tired and my strides becoming much shorter. Slowly, but surely, the last few miles went by, and after an unwelcome uphill stretch just before the final straight, the finish line was in sight.
The atmosphere was electric, and from out of nowhere I found a burst of energy to sprint the last 200m. 4 hours 23 minutes...I had beaten my target time. The feeling was amazing! And what makes it even better is the fact that I have been able to raise a fantastic £287.50 for a wonderful cause, and in memory of my dear Nan.'