Mari Roberts, London Marathon 2006
I vaguely remember a rather drunken conversation with Neil Dymock where he tried to convince me that we should get a gang of people together to run the London Marathon for Gôl. Months later as Autumn 2004 took hold I received an application form through the post. My sister Bethan had one and so did our friend Steve Hudson. I sent mine off assuring myself that so many thousands apply and I would never be accepted.
Bethan eventually received a rejection letter. To my horror I got the thumbs up ! And Steve, well we never did hear what happened to his form !
I set out reluctantly to jog the mile to the top of my road - you have to start somewhere. Half an hour later I returned red faced and short of breath. I realised that a few years following Wales away had taken their toll !
Over the next few months I gradually set about training more regularly, swimming when it was too dark and cold to be out running. As a teenager I was a keen member of Cardigan Swimming Club and competed regularly at county level. Going back to training in the pool was easier than the running, but the reminder of how I was now older and slower at times was depressing.
As April 2005 loomed, I finally began to realise that I wouldn't be able to manage the 26.2 miles and I decided to defer my place for a year. I took part in various 10k races and eventually the Llanelli Half Marathon, and even though I hate to admit it, I was starting to enjoy running.
My training in the swimming pool continued, but at the same time the pool trust announced that they were struggling financially and the pool's state of disrepair could mean closure. The pool was built 30 years ago with funds raised by the residents of Cardigan in memory of the townspeople who died during the Second World War. As well as the main pool, there is also a hydrotherapy pool which is used by disabled and elderly people. As I had spent a large amount of time in the pool as a teenager and also whilst marathon training, I decided to raise money jointly for Gôl and Cardigan Memorial pool.
When April 23rd 2006 finally arrived I was ready and I ran the London Marathon ! The experience was brilliant and despite a knee injury at 19 miles, which meant I had to hobble along for the last seven miles I still enjoyed the whole experience. Even when the man running backwards overtook me I was determined to make it to the end. The fact I was doing it to raise money certainly spurred me on.
I am very grateful to all the Cardigan people who gave generously, many of whom have now heard of Gôl
for the first time and of course to all the old faithful who read 'The Dragon Has Landed' and hang
outside the City Arms on match day. Without your support I don't think I would ever have attempted
such a challenge and raised £1,026 each for Gôl and Cardigan Swimming Pool, a total of £2,052.