With restrictions being cautiously lifted, and some of our wonderful runners preparing for the Cardiff Half Marathon, the Virtual London Marathon and even the London Marathon itself we reached out to long term Hope supporter Richard Baker to write about his experience running the marathon for us back in 2012:

We were so lucky to be able to adopt Buddy through Hope Rescue in September 2011.  

Soon after adopting Buddy I was delighted to find that I had secured a much sought after Ballot Place for the 2012 London Marathon.  My decision was easy about which charity I would try to help through my Marathon place …. There was only one candidate ….. Hope Rescue !!!!

A recent visit to the Hope Rescue website allowed me to find that Buddy is the Hope Rescue Poster Boy for ‘The code of best practise for Animal Welfare establishments in Wales’ section of the website. I recalled how I used that very image to aid my fundraising efforts when I ran the 2012 London Marathon to raise funds for Hope Rescue. Buddy is now around 11 years old ( and still thinks he is a puppy ! ).

All I can say is, if you have the chance to take part in the London Marathon, go for it ….. the event is amazing ! Yes the training is hard work, there are aches, there are pains and I’m afraid, yes there will be blisters. 

However when you arrive at the Expo and get your running number and chip, then on the Sunday morning arrive at Greenwich Park on Race Day the atmosphere is something you have to experience and cannot be easily described. You are with all the other runners in your own 'runners bubble' and the excitement is palpable …. With around half an hour to go before the starting gun you are called to your start position pen depending on your expected race time. Nerves start to build and you chat anxiously to other runners, all trying to stay warm in the crispy Spring London air ….. before you know it you are called to be readied to run. There is a mass shedding of fleeces, bin bags, foil capes …. You name it runners are wrapped in before the start !

Then the ritual of getting your chosen running watch set or GPS tracking apps readied for action begins …. Then you anxiously wait ….. the gun fires and you start to filter through the start line and onto the streets of London.  

Almost immediately you are greeted by the residents of Greenwich standing at the end of their gardens cheering you on, children extend their hands wanting to give you a ‘high five’ you as you pass ….  I can only describe the day as one which shows the world just how wonderful our the Great Capital City of London and its people are …. There is an overwhelming feeling of community and support which you have to be there to appreciate.

As you continue through the course you get to see some of the magnificent sights of London, such as passing Cutty Sark, running over Tower Bridge and then turning right to head towards the City of London and Docklands then finishing on the Mall and passing Buckingham Palace.  

However what makes the day so special is the support from those Londoners who are good enough to come out to watch and cheer on somewhere in the region of 40,000 crazy people running 26.2 miles to raise money for a cause they care about. Their support all along the course make the day so special and help you get to the finish.

One moment that really stands out for me is towards the end of the Marathon, with around 3 miles to go to the finish you run through an underpass before emerging back into the sunlight and onto the Embankment. Whilst in the underpass there is nobody watching, there are just runners all tiring and starting to hurt. Everyone starts to cheer each other on …. calls of ‘Come on we can do this’, ‘don’t give up now’ start to be heard and you start to realise you are almost there …. Just three miles to go!  

You emerge into the sunlight and an amazing cheer of support from a crowded Embankment where spectators and supporters are maybe 10 deep ….. you are then cheered along all the way to the finish.

A day which you will never forget!" 

Thanks for sharing Richard! We’d love to hear from other supporters who are training for a marathon or the Cardiff Half at the moment.

If you have any hints or tips for your fellow runners, and do’s or don’ts or simply want to share your motivation for putting yourself through it all please email us [email protected] , or join our new Facebook group set up for our runner – Hope Rescue Runners