Category Archives: Sport

The marathon has reminded me of the good in people

I had a mentally emotional and physically very painful day yesterday, attempting and eventually completing the Virgin London Marathon.

I have no inclination to go into the physical nature of the run itself and how it pushes you to your absolute limits etc, etc. Others will understand and therefore be able to much better explain the physicalities of what you do to your body when competing in a marathon, plus I don’t even want to remember how the run itself made me feel right now.

But in order for the main part of this post to make much sense, I must briefly explain how my particular marathon went.

It started well. I had done some fundraising for Asthma UK, and I was excited about the run, having done the training. I knew in the back of my head it should be possible to run the thing. And the first half went well – I completed it in about two hours – a time I was very happy with.

But then a hip joint injury that’s been hanging around, but had not been too debilitating until yesterday, kicked in. And shortly after mile 15 I stopped in agony. I walked a bit, hoping the pain would subside enough that I could continue running again, but unfortunately every time I tried there was a searing pain down my leg, and I knew I was doing myself real physical damage by even trying. It was hard to enough to even walk on it.

Anyway, I completed the thing, hobbling the final 11 miles with an immense feeling of frustration.

But the thing I will take forward from the experience is far more positive than the extreme annoyance I feel with my own performance. Instead, I will always remember the deep kindness and generosity of the human spirit displayed yesterday.

The encouragement I received from spectators and countless other marathon runners, all also in their own forms of pain no doubt, as I made my own slow way towards the finish line, was humbling and moving.

The St John’s Ambulance teams were so helpful, somehow mixing incredible professionalism with friendliness and care.

There were thousands and thousands of spectators lining every stretch of the run, yelling nothing but encouragement, speaking kind words to you as you passed them. Many had come out with sweets, or cut up oranges to hand them out to runners. I couldn’t believe the positive energy displayed by all, many of them even staying to cheer as it poured with rain.

And I lost count of the number of other runners who patted me gently on the back as they went past, telling me to keep going and that I was doing well. Many even stopped to see if I was ok, something that must have been incredibly difficult when you are also in the middle of trying to struggle though 26.2 miles, and the last thing you want is to get out of a rhythm.

Others even offered to give me their drink or power gels – things they would have very much needed themselves.

The experience also reminded me of how much I love my friends and family. The miles where I knew I would be seeing one of them up ahead were definitely the shortest miles of the course, no matter how much pain I was in.

There are so many terrible things going on in the world, and we get bombarded every day in the media with the very worst examples of human behaviour. But taking part in the marathon yesterday has reminded me just how good people are. It was a truly touching thing to experience and something I will never, ever forget.

By Sophie Hudson

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Match review: England v USA

As someone who rarely watches a football match, I thought I would post my insights into yesterday’s England v USA World Cup game just to give a different perspective on the whole thing.

In a football match it seems there are so many characters, or players, and you are at such a distance from them on the screen most of the time, that it is difficult to really analyse their individual performance. Maybe with practice at watching football matches this would get easier. But I will try to analyse a couple of them here.

I am no football expert, but to my mind Green really didn’t mean to let that goal in, he tried his best, and to be honest I’m just left feeling quite sorry for him rather than angry that this mistake occurred.

He saved a number of other goals from going in and was clearly devastated that he did let one through. It literally seemed to slip through his fingers, and we’re all human and make little errors so I hope people are not too harsh on him.

Another individual I must mention is Heskey. I was watching the game with someone who informed me that usually he gets a lot of stick for not being terribly good, but in my humble opinion he seemed to be doing a lot of great stuff last night. The commentators kept mentioning him, and he got the ball closer to the goal on a number of occasions. He definitely seemed to be a key player in last night’s game.

The game in general was a far more exciting affair than I would have expected. I found myself becoming strangely patriotic. And whilst there was no moment as uplifting as when Gerrard scored his goal very early in the game, I have never felt such a momentary sinking feeling as when the USA kind of scored a goal.

The rules of the game did sometimes confuse me though.

Even though a few years ago someone gave me a great analogy about shoe shopping to help me understand the offside rule, I still found the whole thing rather complicated to get my head round yesterday. And was it just me or did the referee seem to be handing out a surprising amount of cards? He appeared to think he was playing a game of solitaire rather than football.

On the costumes, or kits, England wearing white seems to be a rather silly choice. They were getting numerous grass stains, especially on their socks, so looked really quite messy by the end of the match. It’s going to be a very tough cleaning job for someone as well. Maybe a stripy red and white outfit would have been a more sensible choice.

It was quite long. Maybe just by about 20 minutes. I think I’d be more inclined to watch it again if it was slightly shorter, as by about the 70 minute mark they were starting to lose my attention if I’m being honest.

Overall I found football match-watching to be a pretty enjoyable experience, and much more entertaining than I had expected. I even found myself yelling at the screen a few times, which I surprised myself with. I’m not totally sure I would call it a ‘beautiful game’ though, as I understand it is often called.

Even so, I am very much looking forward to watching our next game. Come on England!

By Sophie Hudson