I started in high spirits, had no knee trouble, enjoyed the first 14 miles and felt okay for the next 4, though I knew I was not going to be under 4 1/2 hours. Then cramp in a thigh at Mile 18 made me stop. After that I had to stop, massage, stretch and sometimes walk several times.

I did enjoy all the sympathy, encouragement and cheers from the crowd. And I did manage to smile at them. But 5.22 was a big disappointment.

Yet no regrets; I don’t think I would have done anything different. I’m hugely grateful to Men’s Running for including me on the Big Marathon Challenge and everyone involved in helping me.

These things happen and I crossed the finish line I still felt fortunate to be part of such a great event. And I enjoyed a couple of Guinesses.

I also think I’ll hit my other target – to raise £1,000 for Richard House Children’s Hospice.

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