On April 26, 2015, I completed the Virgin Money London Marathon in 3:42:20, and re-qualified to run the Boston Marathon for 2016. (Picture left: race day kit and number all laid out.) It was back in 2012, after I ran the Hartford marathon and qualified to run the Boston Marathon, that I really believed I had a shot at running what I have now dubbed, “The Big 5 for Lyme”, or rather, at that time in 2012, run the World’s Marathon Majors: New York City, Chicago, Boston, London and Berlin. (The World Marathon Majors added Tokyo in 2013). I want to do this because I want to show the world that with long-term antibiotic treatment, combined with naturopathic medicines, can help those with chronic Lyme Disease (anyone who has not responded to the standard Centers for Disease Control’s prescribed 3 weeks of antibiotic treatment) recover. I also want to try as best I can to give hope to others who have Lyme Disease, that they too can recover.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have run the New York City Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, the Boston Marathon, and now London! But London was different for many reasons, including the fact that I also ran this for my sister, Annette Coulombe, who has incurable Lymphoma and was diagnosed 3 weeks before I ran the New York City Marathon in November 2010. (Pictured right: l-r – Angela Coulombe, Annette Coulombe, Joanna Connor, 2014 finishers at the Tri for a Cure, South Portland, Maine.) Throughout the years I battled Lyme, my sister, an Occupational Therapist, would come to my house to help me move my limbs, giving me exercises to perform and large doses of encouragement and support. We planned to be together for my first marathon ever in NYC, so you can only imagine my horror when she phoned 3 weeks before the NYC Marathon to tell me she had been diagnosed with cancer.
I occurred to me that I could run the London Marathon to help my sister and other battling cancer. I looked online for different cancer charities to run for and found the perfect charity, Worldwide Cancer Research, namely because they are the ONLY cancer charity who give money to research anywhere in the world, currently funding 7 projects in the US including one at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Cambridge MA. (Pictured left: Marathon Sunday: Team mates running the London Marathon for Worldwide Cancer Research, Gemma Scott, Craig Scott, Angela Coulombe, Davey.) So I took on the challenge of not only training throughout the worst Maine winter yet, but to also commit to raising over $3500 for Worldwide Cancer Research.
Conditions were perfect for the run! At the start of the run, it was about 52F, with a light drizzle keeping us all cool. (Picture right: Keeping warm in my dollar store rain poncho before the start of the marathon.) Pre-race organization was fantastic, possibly one of the best organized marathons I’ve been involved with to date.
The course was fantastic, running around landmarks like the Cutty Sark, over Tower Bridge, Westminster Abby and finishing out front of Buckingham Palace in the Mall. (Picture left: Tower Bridge and other landmarks on the sky line of London.) With 35,000 other runners, I set off at 10:10 a.m.
The flow of runners was steady and consistent and at times I would have liked to have run faster, but couldn’t get out of the pack. I had to let go of trying to obtain a PR and just concentrate on running with like-minded people who were all there to help others as well as themselves. Keeping that thought in mind helped me just carry on at a consistent 8:30 pace. (Pictured right: Best feeling, seeing friends Katie Wall, David Wall and their daughters Flo and Ruby at mile 25 of the run!)
(Pictured left: Angela Coulombe at the finish line of the Virgin Money London Marathon, April 26, 2015.) Of course, the best feeling, though, is when you finish the run, you cross that finish line, you achieve something you’ve been dreaming about, training religiously for, aiming for, and DOING IT; doing it for yourself, doing it for others, making a difference, being someone’s hope, hero and wonderwall, even if just for a day!
(Pictured below: Final finish time, with Worldwide Cancer Research team mate, Michael Harrison, with my VMLM 2015 medal out front of Westminster Abby, London.)