London Marathon hero Ashley’s inspiration for taking it on!
Ashley Baldwin ran, what he assures us will be, his last road marathon on April 24th this year, the London Marathon. He got his place through the public ballot but still decided to run and raise money on behalf of My Sight Nottinghamshire, a very generous gesture indeed, and he even ran down The Mall with a blindfold on!
After his own experience of temporary blindness in his youth, he explained “it was only temporary but I’ve never forgotten how frightening it was. We take a lot for granted. Only when we lose someone or something precious do we really find out who we are, in how we cope with that loss. This year I donated my London Marathon place to raising funds for My Sight. It’s my last road marathon and I wanted to go out doing something for others”. He added “People run marathons for all kinds of reasons: a physical challenge, to raise money for charity, to experience the theatre of a big event. I’ve run six, but nothing prepares you for London. The crowd are astounding: nowhere do you find such total support. On The Embankment, runners are treated like Stars: hundreds, thousands of people start screaming your name. There’s photographers everywhere! And there you are with Big Ben, or Buckingham Palace in the background as they snap away. I ran up The Mall to the finish in a blindfold. I was running for My Sight and I wanted to draw attention to their work (the marshals on The Mall certainly won’t forget it!).”
“Another inspiration was Wendy, who ran the London Marathon with me. She is a guide runner for Iris, who’s an assisted runner. You can find a video about them on You Tube called “Iris and Wendy This Girl Can: Running”:
If you think “assisted” means slow jogging, let me tell you what happened before London. One of the major training races is the Ashby 20. I was at mile 16 and on for a personal best, when an assisted runner tore past me. I’d imagined it was a bit like free-falling out of plane with my eyes closed, to run that fast. So if your adrenaline junkie, or gentle jogger, there’s training out there if you want to be a guide too!”
As for the feeling Ash was imagining, he didn’t quite get enough adrenaline to satisfy him on the 24th. “Next month I’m free-falling out of a plane with my eyes closed: that should do it and it’s probably best not to sneak a peak!”