5km into the run and, whilst I try to fight the urge to Cucurucu along with Nick Mulvey, my mind can't help but wonder as we run towards the Atlas mountain backdrop…
This is it! We’re finally doing it! All those weekly ‘meetings’ in our local pub, the EDT, organising a year we’ll never forget is finally happening. Even Cameron’s attempts to sabotage the first trip with his dodgy passport didn’t work. OK, we held up the plane a little, and yes, we worried for 3 plus hours if the Moroccan passport control would allow him entry… but all that adds to the excitement, right?
Did a guy really just run past me wearing a beanie in a 20 degrees half marathon???
And so it begins, our year of 12 half marathons in 12 different countries, and it cannot feel better. Almost as if reading my mind, my running playlist kicks in with the Verve classic lucky man… and I cannot feel luckier. Lucky to be in a position to be able to run this race, where others may not be as fortunate as I to experience this and travel to these wonderful places. Lucky to be able to use this opportunity and experience to raise money for such a great charity, that is the Alzheimer’s Society. Lucky to challenge myself, physically and mentally, and consider how I would like to be defined as a person.
Wow, the Marrakechian’s really love Atletico Madrid! If I had known I’d have worn their top like this local next to me to get the crowd whooping and hollering too.
With 16km done, much water consumed to combat the heat and wash the salt from my head, the stomach pains begin. With only 5.6km to go I can do it…. Can’t I? Not now, self-doubt don’t bother me so, we had a deal! Come on playlist, what do you have… inspire me for the final quarter!
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends… Perfect!
For if it wasn’t for the support of our family and friends, including those we have met along the way, this would not be possible. So great has been the support that we had Cameron’s mother, we’ll call her Erika because well that’s her name, to cheer us on for our first run in Marrakech. OK, we’ll admit that trying to find her before the race was a bit of a nightmare and it did make us the last people to start the race (in fact they were actually closing the race when we sprinted through the start gate) but it was fantastic to have that support.
We’ve had such great support from everyone, really buying into this idea of ours to the extent that they’ve even hosted their own charity nights to assist with our fundraising. Simply saying thank you does not express our gratitude enough. It’s the support of these people that gives us the mental strength. It’s their support that makes those last 5.6km feel like nothing. As we approach the finish line (a sprint finish of course, standard!) we’re feeling the heat, with dehydration and exhaustion threatening to take over, but as we cross the line it’s the elation and jubilation that wins.
And so with our first race now complete, all that’s left is for us to celebrate with champagne and beers at our riad hostel, engage with the wonderful travellers we met and listen to their stories ranging from Laura & Clara - living on Germany’s largest Island (we didn’t know it had an island either), Erika – the crazy Eurovision obsessed party animal from Ireland/New Zealand, Tinka - spending 3 months helping the refugee crisis on the coasts of Europe, Arvy - planning to re-vegetate the Sahara desert with human excrement as fertiliser, Jasmine - exploiting the gaps in the French stationary market and others with their further travel plans. Then on to the best way to end our trip, with a lovely hammam and massage from an old Moroccan man. He was not gentle one bit.