My London Marathon diary for The Guardian’s G2 – part 1

It’s been a pretty frustrating week on the marathon front. On the plus side, after months of secrecy and furtive runs in a woolly hat and long black running tights, I’ve finally gone public and launched my fundraising drive for London Marathon 2012 .

But on the downside I’ve not been able to run for six days now. Laid low by a nasty chest cold and cough, I have had to make do with step-training in the front room. I never realised before, but this running game is all about your head. With two weeks to go before the big day, a few days without a run is mental torture. I keep thinking, 26.2 miles – it’s a very long way. For even though I have stuck doggedly to my training schedule now for more than six months, a few days without being able to get out and the doubts do set in. As I write this, I’ve still got to complete my final 20-mile run.

I now realise why no senior politician has ever tried to run this race before. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” is such a good metaphor for an opposition MP. But not to finish, now that would be symbolism of an altogether different kind.

But I will do it. Because the two charities I am running for – Whizz-Kidz and Action for Stammering Children – are such brilliant causes, and personally very important to me. Because, having run five half marathons since Christmas, and felt comfortable after completing 18 miles, I know I can. And because if I don’t, well, I will never hear the last of it.

My wife Yvette thinks I am mad to have succumbed to the charms of Whizz-Kidz chief executive, Ruth Owen, who jaw-droppingly announced 18 months ago at a fundraiser that I would be running the 2012 marathon – without asking me first. But even Yvette has been surprised that, having thrown myself into serious running last October, my training is just about on track.

I am not expecting a fast time – to finish is enough of a goal. But please make sure I have no choice but to get round by sponsoring me and two great children’s charities today at: justgiving.com/teams/EdBalls

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Posted April 9th, 2012 by Ed