Wednesday, 23 February 2011

London Marathon on the 17th of April 2011

Today I want to post a hilarious message I received yesterday from my friend Antonello. Anto is Italian, is a broker and works in London. He is the best male friend ever- the one who hosts you when you have no places to stay in London and feeds you with great food whenever you are hungry. He is always cheerful and warm-hearted...
As a hobby - but it's definitely more than a hobby- he and Clare make delicious pasta sauces (have a look at and sell them on line.
This year Anto and Clare are running the London Marathon and want to raise money through the marathon for ActionAid. Read the message below and have fun.
Anto and Clare, I love you!

P.S this picture was taken last year in London when I organized a surprise party for Anto. Anto and Clare are the ones on the right.

Dear friends,
It is with great pleasure that I bring to your attention my next fund raising campaign. Believing or not I will be soon taking part in the London Marathon and address you all with the most earnest and insatiable appetite for sponsorship. Or more likely appetite for destruction as you can rest reassured that for you it will be amusement, for me mere sorrow.

Please take a minute to go through the reasons why you will sponsor me other than preventing constant harassment via hundreds of emails, calls, reminders, threats, blackmailing, horse heads in bed (rather messy if I have to say), etc.

I will be running for Actionaid. They are a great organization. I personally know a few among their staff and believe me, they rock. They mainly fight against poverty, injustice, human rights, climate change, women rights (don’t really get this one.. (chill out ladies, I am only joking)). You remember the recent campaign against Grolsh ‘legally’ evading TAX? Yes, it is them.

You now have two alternatives. Just sponsor me or read the following 92 pages and then sponsor me. I leave it to you. Just bear in mind, I need to rise a couple of grands. For once in my life I might do some good, I also will probably die, so I would like to take the opportunity to go large and make some serious number.

Yes, yes, if the trigger is imposing the run wearing some ridiculous outfit (clearly for individual donation in XS of 50£), I am up for it. Remember, the less I wear the more I expect. Please don’t ask me to run in a mankini as this might create disruption in the capital (not a nice view believeme).

No? Not yet? Ok, go ahead, read more and go through this little tale that I will entitle:

Enter the pain

Everything started last year when following a half marathon (see attachment) I decided that I did not suffer quite enough, I could do better and applied for the London Marathon, the full one. With no little disappointment my application was rejected in no time and everything went quiet, including training in any shape or form, until a few weeks ago something happened. A lucky strike? We will see.

Following some cancellations I had a chance to reapply with a friend who works for Actionaid, we name her Clare. A few hours of unbearable suspense and eventually the merry news: we had the places. Please, you must understand that the London Marathon for a fat boy like me is not an every day distraction and quite understandably the excitement was paramount. To a point that the breaking news was in fact followed by abundant celebrations. And the training? Not even 3 months to go? Oh oh, this I going to hurt… Let me just quickly recap:

- January Thursday the 20th breaking news, we run the London marathon. Training kicks off straight away after work.
6pm Clare is heading to my flat to start the training.
6pm I send a text “down the pub for a one quick pint to celebrate the news with some colleagues and will join you”
6.30pm I inexorably send another text “You better join me at the pub for more celebrations”. Why trying to fight forces that cannot be defatted?
2am end of daily celebrations

- Friday the 21st: the excitement is still overwhelming. Result: more celebrations.
6pm onwards bathing in cider in Leadenhall Market

- Saturday the 22nd: more celebrations (why not?)
10pm being very well mannered at a house party
12am I am everybody’s best friend
2am Moonwalking..
4am snoring in a cab. Nice party. Many thanks. Sorry for gate-crushing (ops)

Wow. Good start!

Recovering gap. Still no run.

Jan Wednesday 26th: the training begins and it will memorable (2 days, 2 different worlds).
1.05pm. Lunch time. Office. City. Target: London Bridge to Westminster and back. North bank. Let’s go. Go go go.
Run. Keep going. Painful but doable. More run more pain but still going. Still going. Yes, I can make it. I can’t believe it, I can make it. I am still fit. Run, run. After an immeasurable time, I eventually looked down at my watch rather happy with myself “it should be half an hour, maybe more? 1.15pm.
1.15 OMG. 10 minutes. Only 10 minutes. Panic. It cannot be. I am going to die. Everything hurts, my back hurts. I am half a ton heavy. Oh this is going to hurt. Ok, calm down, take it easy, keep some cool pace and get on with it. Come on, go.
Go, keep going. Do it for charity, do it for the glory, do it for yourself but go. Keep going. So, the breath became more regular, the body slightly less heavy, legs getting better, and after a while I reached Westminster Bridge. Well, why not going ahead? Come on, I am a strong man. Go ahead, keep going (clearly the super fit blonde running before me in the same direction did not affect my decisions in the least). And ahead I went, the blonde clearly disappearing after five seconds (they always do) and on and on until two more bridges, Vauxhall Bridge. Wow. What a result. I crossed the bridge, still quite in pain, but the body was following the mind. It could be worse, much worse. I started my way back down the south bank. And run, more run, and everything started melting down, the wind went silent, the pain disappeared, my body and my mind were one in a cyclic flow. And on and on until a sensation of lightness prevailed and my mind started wondering. My ancestors, the meaning of life, where do we come from? Who am I? Wonder, wonder, run, keep running. Almost at the Tate modern something happened and I was shaken off my trance. Suddenly the body became again real and shockingly heavy, so heavy. Please run. And I run. More and more. What an effort now. And what was that voice? ‘Come on, stop now, you have done well’. Go away. ‘No really, stop, you have done so well already’. Please go away, I keep going. ‘Ok, ok, just walk for a while then, why not? Just for a bit. Think at the relief’. Hold on a second, the voice was so right, now everything was hurting so much. I was so heavy and my feet were pounding on the ground with a grotesque noise. So, the devilish voice kept going a bit longer, but I did not stop me. I don’t know why. The voice went away with London Bridge and my office in plain view.
2.20pm back in the office. Alive. Dead. 6 miles.

Jan Thursday 27th: training, the day after
My last chance to train in the week due to other engagements, why not going again? Today only aiming to Westminster as everything is already hurting.
1.05pm GO. North bank. Hold on a second, yes it is painful but totally different from day one. Much better now. I am running faster, feeling stronger. I haven’t got a fatal attraction towards my watch as the previous day and the first time I checked my time I had run 25 minutes already and was by Westminster, the target. I felt good. Oh come on, you are strong man, you can make it a bit further. If I did Vauxhall Bridge day one, I can do everything. Come on, show me what you have got!! So ahead I went, no blondies around, only boldness, completely oblivious of the imminent disaster. And on, and on until Vauxhall Bridge came to a view. A strange feeling of tiredness. Real tiredness. Something not quite experienced yet. Oh, come on, think about yesterday, it will go away. But it didn’t. When I hit the Bridge a different cold pain went through the whole body and in seconds... black out. Body shut down. Done. Disaster. That was it. I knew I could not run a meter more. I walked into the bridge, the wind blowing fiercely in freezing grip. Kept on walking across the bridge but now what? I am miles away from my office. How can I make it back and the cold... the wind was a spinning blade. What shall I do? I have not got money for a cab or a bus. I haven’t got my Barclays bike fob. I am freezing plus, I will never make it back walking, don’t even think about running. Still crossing the Bridge (4 times longer today?) staring oddly at the MI6 imposing building on the south bank. What shall I do now? Shall I ask for help? No, they will think I am a trump, or a junkie. They will call the police. I will be arrested, and then lose my job. I will never find a job again. I am ruined. Just off MI6 now with a hopeful look at the dark windows. Please, please James Bond, if you are in there do something, shoot me. M, please help me. Come and take me, I can spy on Berlusconi for you. Everything you like for a cab or a warm cup of tea. No, M and Mr bond did not rescue me.
Ok. You are on your own and you need to run to avoid hibernation. So, run. No. Run I said. No. RUN. And so, I run. Slowly. But why? Why was I doing that? Why did I find myself in that situation? So, wondering foolishly I pushed myself to a steady slow run. Come on, 50 more meters, and then another 50. At Lambeth Bridge I looked back and could not believe that Vauxhall Bridge was so far away. I must be mad. What do I think I am doing? Keep on going though, you have no choice. So I ran and ran. Here you go, the London Eye, come on keep going, you have got the pace now. So, on and on but soon another drama, the whole physical confusion that my distressed body was experiencing turned into a new sophisticated and organized pain pumping through all joints and limbs. The brain computing in astonishment this new pain thought ‘what the hell...’ But then.. Hold on, this is just pain. This is not true, your brain tells you that you feel pain (don’t try to bend the spoon). Nonsense, just nerves and electric impulses playing with your mind. Come on, it does not hurt. It’s just your imagination. It’s not real!. So, the pain kept on knocking the door but somehow I was keeping it just outside with these funny speculations. Well, at least I got distracted and landed back to the base.
Result: Another 6 miles. How do I love running?

Well, well. Very dramatic indeed, good effort though. Certainly well worth another couple of day of celebrations. Or more…

Then.. Disaster again. The following week was the week of pain, precisely backache. The nasty one, the one keeping you from sleep, consistent, horrible, until I literally walked into my osteopath’s in tears. Oh, I love running. Well, at least I learnt another lesson: Stretch, stretch, always stretch! Especially if you are not trained.

February Wednesday the 9th.
Following some more celebrations, I was hit by a harsh reprimand from my running partner Clare. Ok, stop. STOP. I need to take this seriously.

Feb Thursday the 10th.
7.30am. Clare appearing at my door. Half an hour running. Half an hour of solid pain. I mean it! Oh, I love running, I really do.

And so this is the way for our fellow marathon runner, more celebrations, more run, more celebrations  and so on and on… Will I make it? Of course, but amusement I promised and amusement will be! And most of all please, please, please sponsor me. We already have some individual booking up to a staggering 500 pounds. We will soon prepare a charity event but for the time being please just sponsor us.

For those of you who supported me for last year, thanks again. You already know that I will not give up pursuing your gold so please just do it. For the other ones, you will sponsor me.

Yours sincerely,

Antonello Zunino

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