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ACT in Action

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

Earlier this year a good friend invited me to walk the Virtual London Marathon with her to raise money to support a charity that is very dear to her heart.

I am not a natural athlete and I would rather exercise my mind than my body, so when she made the suggestion my instinct was to decline the invitation…but then something happened – I noticed my internal resistance to taking her up on her offer; I noticed the thoughts coming up that it would be “awful and painful and humiliating”; I noticed the anxiety welling in the pit of my stomach & a creeping sense of dread that made the back of my neck feel uncomfortable.

I noticed the discomfort…

And I sat with all that discomfort & just looked at it…& then looked at it some more. I didn’t allow it to pull me into a knee-jerk reaction of saying “No!”...I created some space; some space in which as well as experiencing all that discomfort, I could also think about what it would mean to my friend to have me walking alongside & supporting her on this journey; what it would mean to me to be in her company during all the training we would have to do; what it would mean to the people who would benefit from the great work that the charity does that we would be raising funds for.

I got in touch with my values…

So we walked & we walked & we walked; And all the time we were walking we were talking and connecting - with each other & with the wonderful nature that we were passing through. There were some really tough times, like when we did our first 16 mile walk on what turned out to be a scorching hot day over really rough terrain, and there were some wonderful moments, appreciating wildlife & views & most of all our friendship.

I committed to this valued action…

And on the big day it was wonderful & challenging in equal measure. We started out at 6.30am in pouring rain (I hate walking in rain!), but we very quickly saw another participant (recognisable from his number bib) & he called out & encouraged us.

Then the rain stopped & pretty soon we’d bumped into a group of ladies who were participating to raise money for West Kent Mind – they were so jolly & bubbly, it was infectious! And we saw some beautiful places along the way...

And then it hurt, it really hurt…especially towards the end, & it was increasingly difficult not to get caught up in thoughts of how difficult this was becoming, but on & on we went…& the more we went on the more there were meetings with other participants & lovely supporters who came out to cheer us & encourage us along; many a random passer-by shouted out encouragement to us as they could appreciate the effort we were making.

We connected with our common humanity…

And finally we completed it…actually we more than completed it, walking a total of 27.71 miles when only 26.2 were needed!

Lots of people were participating in the London marathon that day, whether virtually or actually in London. One of those people was Dr Chatterjee and the next day he posted a lovely quote on Facebook – “The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race“ I couldn’t agree with him more!

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