A marathon challenge completed!
We're absolutely thrilled for Business Centre Managers Steve Churches and Theresa Thurlow, who both recently completed the gruelling 26.2 mile Loch Ness Marathon.
Training has been underway for this exciting challenge since early this year, but as the date drew closer Steve in particular was getting nervous.
"We arrived in Inverness on Saturday afternoon and immediately made our way to the event park, which also doubled up as the finish line. This was when it really became real for me and nerves definitely began to set in. I started to ask myself if I had trained enough and if the knee injury that I had got as a result of the training I had undertaken would hold out for the full 26.2 miles. I spent the rest of the day/evening running through these questions in my head and working myself into a bit of a panic, which of course meant that I had a terrible night's sleep."
The day finally came and it was bright and sunny, and along with 4,000 other nervous and excited runners, Steve and Theresa made their way to the start.
"It was an early start on the marathon day, as we needed to leave at 7am to make our way to the bus that would take us to the start line. Again, I was very nervous but this was over shadowed by some of the amazing scenery we were treated to as we made our way to the top of Loch Ness. When we arrived we had little time to place our belongings into a vehicle that would transport them back to the finish line, strip off to what we would be wearing for the 'race' and use the toilets, before the event organisers told us to get into position for the beginning of the marathon. The start came around very quickly and before we knew it we were in full flow running with the other 4000 people that started the race."
The race got off to a good start, both were running well until the worst possible thing happened and Steve's knee started to hurt. Theresa had to run on in the knowledge that Steve would probably have to retire and not finish the race.
"It was at around 11 miles that all of a sudden I felt the pain in my knee and very quickly found it difficult to run. I told Theresa that she should run on and that I may have to retire as the pain seemed to be getting worse and worse. Theresa ran on and I took a couple of minutes to walk and see if stretching would help; this was my lowest point in the race. It was at this point that I pulled my iphone out of my running belt to look at my running app that I saw that we had received another generous donation, taking us above £1000. This could not have come at a better time and gave me the motivation to keep running despite the agony."
Even with his knee in agony, Steve continued to press on even though the terrain was getting harder. Even experienced marathon runner Theresa found it hard going, "the run was beautiful for the first 18 miles, then we entered the more built up areas and the terrain became a lot tougher. There was a huge hill that seemed to go on and on forever, which I had to dig so deep to keep running up."
The finish finally came into view for Steve and just as he sighted he saw a relieved Theresa there waiting for him!
"It was around 20 miles that I started to think about the finish and it suddenly dawned on me that I may actually complete it all. Each mile felt like 2 and it felt like the end would never come. But low and behold I soon came into Inverness to be greeted with cheers from the local people that had turned out to support us and finally came down the finish line to see Theresa waiting. I crossed the line and nearly collapsed into a heap! Running a marathon is something that I completely underestimated and is definitely the hardest thing that I have ever done. The money that we have raised is brilliant and people's generosity has been amazing and this helped get me through the day. A big thank you to all of those people that supported both Theresa and I throughout the marathon - we couldn't have done it without you!"
Even with Theresa's previous experience of running a marathon, this was undoubtedly still a huge challenge.
"I'm so very proud of what we have both achieved but Steve's journey was incredible! I wouldn't have missed it for the world and feel so proud that we could give something back to the Alzheimer's society."
Congratulations are most definitely in order for both Steve and Theresa, who raised a fabulous £1,602.10 for the Alzheimer's Society.