Blog: Crossing the London Marathon finish line

Josef Baines, our Disability Development Officer reflects on his incredible achievement - completing London Marathon and meeting his fundraising target for London Sport's disabled leaders in sport project


One wintry night many moons ago, George Haddad (also London Sport’s marathon runner), our friends and I were enjoying a scrumptious meal. After satisfying our ravenous maws, we had a lengthy discussion over our Blue Moon orange-infused beers about what to do with our lives for year 2018. A light bulb moment came, we nodded to each other and agreed to take the leap of faith to do something extraordinary in our lives…

Fast forward seven months, I crossed the finish line of the London Marathon. I could not believe I did it! A marathon! The whole 26.2 miles! Looking back, I am still pinching myself that I did the event. Overall, it was a surprisingly smooth ride from the start to the finish line. I felt proud of myself managing my energy levels throughout the run and ensuring that I stayed hydrated during what was the hottest marathon on record. I also stayed injury-free during the entire run and really enjoyed the atmosphere.

Looking back, everything just went by so quickly. There was so much music along the way (yes – I can feel them, including those loud drums near Rotherhithe that gave us the much-needed boost to keep going), a plethora of colours and banners, and so many people shouting and cheering everybody on. As a first timer, I have never seen so many people at an event and it was all a mind-blowing, multi-sensory experience! I particularly enjoyed the last few miles of running along the Embankment, passing the Houses of Parliament into St James’s Park, and passing Buckingham Palace before going on the famous bend towards The Mall finish line. The whole experience was surreal.


Josef Baines and George Haddad - London Sport's Marathon Runners
Throughout months of training and completing two half-marathons, I have endured numerous small injuries (let’s call it ‘a painful physical reconfiguration’ from rowing to running!). To put it plainly, it was all hard work and I often struggled but I was determined to make it to the end. I was also behind with my marathon training schedule due to injuries – I trained up to 18 miles – and decided that the only way forward was to do my best on the day of the marathon.

To meet my fundraising target for London Sport’s disabled leaders in sport project was also tough. I have a huge respect for anyone wishing to fundraise significant sums of money for a charity, it is not an easy task and requires huge amount of energy, time, commitment and determination to see it through. I am very thankful and grateful to have had so many supporters encouraging me to keep me going and to donate money. Without their unwavering support, I probably would not have gone this far, let alone cross the finish line – it was all a team effort.

I am also pleased for London Sport’s six other runners. They have all crossed the finish line and did fantastically well in their fundraising efforts – Team Tarmac Crushers have raised a total of £10,000!

Running gave me a new sense of freedom in terms of flexibility and time, due to family demands and current lifestyle, so I very much look forward to keep on running – it is addictive! A few days after the London Marathon and after reflecting on how much I have enjoyed the whole experience, I’ve decided to do it again and secured a place to run in the Paris Marathon next year! Bring on 2019!


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