Fiona Oakes' London Report

I am really sorry I did not reach our post-marathon meeting point on Sunday, I had a really tough time out there. When I finished I sought medical help and the Doctor advised me I had incurred internal bleeding on the joint and to rest it and seek an appointment with a Consultant at my earliest opportunity. The bruising and swelling did become quite severe on Sunday night but the swelling is a bit better today.

When I heard the news of the mixed Championship starts for men and women I nearly didn’t run at all. The reason is that I just cannot run freely if I don’t have clear road to see where my feet are going. With the knee replacement and no knee cap it is so hard to keep my right leg together I can hardly explain. I can run in a straight line but if I twist or turn it in any way I just cannot compensate and my knee becomes extremely unstable. Even before the the start I managed to get elbowed in the ribs and clipped by the runner in front on the knee. The mass start is bad enough for an able bodied woman as you always tend to get pushed and shoved about, but a a mass start amongst 300 testosterone filled men who are all looking for Championship placings is practically impossible, even if you don’t have a disability. The news of the decision to amalgamate the two was released very late and even on the morning of the race quite a few girls thought it must be a mistake and had actually been told at the Expo that the feeling was the decision would be reversed on the day. Needless to say, it wasn’t!

Personally, I just cannot do the twisting, turning, jumping and maneuvering it takes to keep yourself out of trouble in these situations. My knee just doesn’t have the flexibility and I know it doesn’t, which just makes me tense up even more. I set off but at 4 miles, after the rigors of the jostling at the start, I knew my knee was not good, by 10 miles I nearly pulled up as I knew the people from the running club who were running the drink station there. I did pass the station, thought about what I was doing and even then nearly turned round. What I decided was the only thing I could do was to slow down and try to adapt a ‘running’- or rather crawling – style which would enable me to get round – hopefully in a half decent time, taking into consideration the heat on the day and the fact that it was going to get hotter and my leg was like to get worse and worse.

I don’t actually remember much more of the race other than it felt like I was doing 15 minute miling whilst someone hit me with a hammer on my right knee and stuck a red hot poker into the ball of my left foot (which suffers terribly when I have to throw so much of my weight onto my left side. It was pretty rough though, I passed quite a few girls who were totally ‘spent’ having gone off too quickly in an attempt to get out of the way of the men who were pushing and shoving. Another pretty low point was getting the full contents of some chap’s bladder all over me who had chosen to ‘relieve’ himself downwind in the tunnel through Docklands – which pretty much summed up the way I was feeling at that point! The only high point was seeing the Vegan Runners banner at Cannon Street – that was great and really did get me through those last few painful miles.

Ed – banner was not organised by the club, possibly supporters of the Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary or Captive Animals Protection Society for whom Fiona is raising funds in this event.

What I am trying to say is that I am terribly disappointed and sorry that I couldn’t have run quicker on the day but, given the circumstances in which the race was held, I just couldn’t. If I had known any earlier it was going to be like that I would have had to withdraw – given the disability I carry and consequences and affects it has on me. 32nd in the Marathon and a sub 3 hour is not too bad, I know, but I had trained for it to be a lot better but there was honestly nothing I could have done about. I just wish I had known and done Halstead again in a couple of weeks time which would have been more positive all round.

On a positive note though, at least I am not too tired as I couldn’t run at a quick pace so hopefully, if I can get my knee right I will be able to make amends for this disaster in an Autumn Marathon and the Southend Half in June.

Thanks for all the support on the way round and for being a great Club I am proud to wear the vest.

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