Anthony Handy, who took part in the Leeds-Bradford Hope Walk earlier this year, ran the Keilder Marathon, billed as Britain’s most beautiful, on Sunday 7th October. Here is his heartfelt account:
“We arrived at Kielder at 8:30, the ground was frozen but the sun was beginning to shine, we got bussed from the car park to the start line and the air was noisy with excited chatter and tales of previous race days. The start time soon came round and the athletes were shrouded in a quiet determination.
The first few miles were surprisingly flat….I almost began to wonder whether the reviews of last years race were over stated, then the hills started! Mile after relentless mile of either up or down; no flat bits whatsoever. All the hill training I had been doing over the past months was now paying off and by mile 8 I had gotten into a rhythm and was thoroughly enjoying it, the miles then flowed, 15 to 18 became a little difficult, then a flat half mile across the dam, that’s where I hit “the wall”…ouch! Then, with a second wind I ploughed on, the camaraderie was excellent all the way round, but between mile 20 and mile 26 runners were helping each other: words of encouragement, friendly smiles and swapping of energy gels abounded. The last two miles nearly ground me to a halt but this is where I dug deep and thought of Harry – each step was painful and it seemed like it went on forever but it was not going to beat me…..then the last 800 yards……never in my life have I felt more like quitting and rolling over! Somehow each footfall preceded the next until the last 200 yards and the cheers of the spectators carried me across the line.
A lifetime ambition had been realised and I realised right there that all things are definitely possible. I learnt that it’s possible to push beyond what you think are physical boundaries and that the only opposition in the sport of running is the voice in your head telling you to stop, that you can’t do it.
After collecting my medal and T shirt and feeling elated but physically rotten, I realised that this level of exhaustion and weakness is probably akin to how Harry feels most days, again I came to realise how very special he is, how he takes what life has to throw at him and soldiers on regardless.
I did this for Harry, and it was due to Harry that I was able to do it. I think that this is the very essence of the Myotubular motto “Finding strength, if you can we can”.
Anthony’s Inspiration :
Family friend, 14 year old Harry, who has myotubular myopathy, was the inspiration behind Anthony’s marathon run and his desire to help the Myotubular Trust develop a cure for myotubular myopathy. Anthony told us, ““Harry is an extremely intelligent lad who is a pleasure to be around. His attitude to life is very humbling and despite facing many difficulties I have never heard him complain. I chose this particular marathon as it’s extremely tough and hilly. I haven’t run a marathon before and have kept Harry firmly in mind to drive my training and achieve my goal. I urge people to learn about the condition and donate if possible.”
If you would still like to sponsor Anthony and leave him a message of encouragement, please visit his online fundraising page – http://www.bmycharity.com/tonyhandy
Harry’s dad, Gary, said: “Tony knows what Harry has to do just to get by with day to day things. We’re very grateful to him for taking on such a difficult task. I know he’s never run a marathon before and how much training he’s put in for this.”
We would like to thank Anthony for completing such an amazing feat, and for all his help to raise awareness and funds for the Myotubular Trust to help Harry.