Having run the London marathon in 2000 and something, I now take pleasure in watching it from the comfort of my bed on a Sunday morning in April, whilst eating croissants and drinking strong coffee.
I remember it vividly. I ran in memory of my mum who died from cancer and myself and my husband Neil trained for 6 months and ran the 26.2 miles together.
At around mile 20, I hit the dreaded wall. It was one of the hottest London marathons on record. I wanted to give up, crawl to the side of the road and cry. After cursing at Neil for making me run it (even though it was all my idea), he coaxed me on and pushed me (literally at times!) for four miles.
By the time I hit mile 24, I'd had enough and dug deep to find the energy and strength to sprint to the finish line, almost pushing women and children out my way to the bitter end.
The London marathon tested not just my physical strength but my mental. How I ever managed to dig deep and find that ounce of "Yes, I can do it" to get me to the end, I will never know. At various points of the race I urged Neil to go on without me, after all he was fitter, stronger and could easily have run it in a much faster time. But he didn't. He stuck with during that torturous 4 miles.
But here's the thing. The London marathon is not just about PBs and finishing under 3, 4 or even 5 hours - its about taking part, it's about camaraderie, it's about helping others.
We all watched yesterday in disbelief and with a tear in our eye at the Swansea Harrier who stopped 200 metres from the finish line to help a fellow runner who's body was shutting down. He could barely put one foot in front of the other. For all we knew this harrier was going for a PB but instead he stopped and helped to carry this runner over the finish line.
A true gent and what the marathon is all about. Team spirit, helping others less fortunate, coaxing and egging others on who feel like giving up.
This is what being a leader and running a business is all about. Running the marathon and the discipline and training taught me a lot. Mental strength over and above the physical, stopping to help others who are struggling, whether a junior in your office, or a Senior Manager dealing with a difficult client. You have to give a helping hand and lead from the front, coaxing them along and getting your team to that finish line, even if you have to carry them!