Florence Marathon – a year on

IT’S a year since Chris and a few of my friends ran the Florence Marathon. A year! I can’t believe it.

I should have been running too, especially as I was the one who suggested it in the first place. I encouraged everyone to sign up. ‘It’ll be brilliant,’ I said. ‘Let’s do it!’ I was well up for it. A marathon in one of the finest cities in the world, who wouldn’t want to do it.

Florence with Rolf and Chris

With Rolf and Chris

My enthusiasm lasted about a month, if that. The doubts soon set in. ‘It’s a long way,’ I told Chris. ‘I don’t think I’m up to it.’ My knees started hurting just thinking about it. A few weeks later I got injured (the knee) and decided that I wasn’t strong enough to run 26.2 miles.

Instead I went to Florence to support my friends, who all did so well. Jackie completed her first marathon, David his third, Rolf, who tours the world running marathons completed his fifteenth, and Chris ran a personal best.

It was an amazing day and great to watch my friends do so well. Part of me wished I’d taken part. In fact, at the marathon expo I even considered doing it, but common sense prevailed. Instead I walked around beautiful Florence, cheering on the runners.

We’d booked a central hotel, ideally located for marathon spectating. ‘All you need to do,’ Chris said. ‘Is go out of the hotel, turn left and walk to the end of the road, watch us go past, then walk back to the other end and you’ll see us come past again.’

I’m not the best with directions, but I couldn’t go wrong. Unfortunately what I didn’t account for were the cobbles. Uneven, chipped and slippery, they were an accident waiting to happen. I opened the door of the hotel, took one step onto the uneven ground and fell over. I was sprawled out on the road like a starfish, wondering what had just happened. An Italian couple came to my rescue, taking an arm each and pulling me to my feet. They couldn’t speak a word of English, and I couldn’t speak Italian but I hoped they understood I was grateful.

With ladders in my tights and stinging knees I made it to the end of the road to cheer on my beloved. He saw me and initially look pleased, but then he noticed my dishevelled demeanour and his face clouded. ‘Just a little fall,’ I said and waved him on his way. The walk back to the end of the street was uneventful and I watched as Chris and my friends ran past again.

It was an amazing weekend and I was so pleased to be a part of it. There was a great atmosphere in Florence and I would definitely return again, possibly one day to do the marathon. This year while Rolf is back in Florence, running his eighteenth marathon, I am supporting runners at the Barnsley 10k, where I hope to stay firmly on my feet.

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