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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A marathon challenge for Lizzy

I took on the Girlguiding UK Queen’s Guide Award – the highest award anyone in guiding can achieve. It’s a chance for Senior Section members to challenge themselves and try new things over around three years of hard work and determination. For many people, the Personal Skill element is the hardest – and this was definitely true for me!

I have never been particularly sporty and so to challenge myself registered for the Barcelona Half Marathon and the Madrid Marathon. It was something I had always been meaning to do and the Queen’s Guide gave me a good opportunity.
I had to fit my training around travelling - while on my GOLD project in Guyana, I couldn’t run for a month, but when I reached Brazil afterwards I started doing around 3 miles each time. In October, I ran my first ever 10km, in a local race in Menorca, where I spent my third year away from University. I gradually built this up, running for hours at a time on my own in the Menorca countryside. In January, I managed the Barcelona Half Marathon. My training was disrupted by a trip to Our Cabana but on 17th April 2011, I was at the start line of the 26 mile challenge ahead of me.

I did it!!
My training had taken a lot of determination. I had never run as far before, and each week, I pushed up my distance, forcing myself to run further and further. In my half marathon, I “hit the wall” at around 17km (11 miles) so I knew it would come during the full marathon, but wasn’t sure when, or how hard it would hit. The first half passed without incident but as I entered the “Casa del Campo,” a big park on one side of Madrid, I started to feel pain in the backs of my knees and in my right calf. I didn’t want to stop yet though.  I ran without stopping until 34km, when I walked as fast as I could. Finally, I saw my parents around 5km from the end and focused myself and beat them to the finish line!
As I reached the final ascent, I saw a young guy leaning against a car. He was clearly in a lot of pain. He turned out to be American and I managed to persuade him to continue running alongside me. Together we pushed on and managed to beat the five hour pace runner to finish in 4hr50 minutes.  Being together meant that we supported each other not to give up. Being determined can spur you on to things greater than you realise possible!

Coming from not being able to run for more than ten minutes and hating any kind of physical activity at school, completing a marathon was a huge achievement but one that took a lot of hard work and effort. Crossing the line was only the very final part of it.
I like to think that the athletes who participate in London 2012 will feel the same.

Receiving my Queen's Guide award
On Friday 29 June, I was presented with my Queen’s Guide Award after 25 months of work. Like the athletes crossing the line, only I will know how much determination it took, how much I challenged myself and how hard I worked. I think that this makes it even more satisfying.
Lizzy Nay

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