Edo and Tomáš take on London
Edited by Vacilando. Last updated 6. March, 2017.
On that image, that's me with Edo, my best friend. Two kids in the socialist Czechoslovakia, growing up on a diet of Soviet idolatry and a constant fear of nuclear war. I think the photograph was taken on one of the school trips where we had to throw rubber grenades at imaginary imperialist enemies and run around in gas masks, with hands and feet stuck in plastic bags that we believed would save us from supposed nuclear contamination. Not that we cared much about the propaganda: it was fun and above all, we did not have to sit in the class! It must have been somewhere in the early 1980s. Behind Poprad, our home town.
Fast forward to present. Everything changed beyond recognition. Only two things remained throughout all these years:
- Edo Maguth is still one of my best friends
- We still keep running. (No, not in gas masks!)
This year we have a fantastic opportunity to fulfill a very big dream of ours: to run the famous London Marathon!
Notice the exclamation mark in the previous sentence. It is a big deal. For us, anyway!
First, it's one of the very famous international marathons. Second, it's hard to get to -- the exclusivity does make it attractive. Third and most important -- it is the ambiance. The cheers from the crowd lining the streets make your blood boil. The tens of thousands of fellow runners infect you with enthousiasm. You cannot stop, even if you are sick with exhaustion, you push metre after metre, as if it were the sole meaning of life. A gruelling undertaking, and a strange attractor. A fight with distance, with oneself. And with time. This year, both Edo and me will become 40 years old. But we will run -- with your help! -- our London Marathon still before our birthdays!
Now, of course, there is a catch. There is no such thing as a free lunch -- or marathon -- in this world! In return for our participation, we have to fundraise some resources. A considerable amount of money, in fact: 3600 £! Scary, isn't it? But let me tell you, it is still less scary than running a full marathon! So we decided to give it a try. It is a challenge like all the others. Another kind of marathon!
So we have signed a pact with... don't worry, with ActionAid! I honestly don't think we could have chosen a better partner. No sleazy multi-national company trying to boost profits etc. ActionAid (registered charity #274467) is one of the largest international development NGOs but despite its size and reach it is so well organized and run that it remains not just dynamic and efficient, but also effective! ActionAid's main aim is to fight poverty worldwide. Formed in 1972, for over 30 years it has been growing and expanding to where it is today - helping over 13 million of the world's poorest and most disadvantaged people in 42 countries on this beautiful planet.
So here's the plea: Please contribute to ActionAid to help me and Edo get to the starting line of the London Marathon 2011 on 17. April 2011.
Please, don't dismiss us with a few coins. Be generous. If you like us, donate a bit more than you normally would. We do not have 3600 friends! We will thank you at each of the 42,195 metres. And if you don't like us, donate the same -- you can sneer a bit at the thought of sending our 40-year old limbs to 42,195 metres of a sweaty hard toil!
We will quite probably not endanger all the quick-footed Kenyans, Ethiopians, and other serious athletes. In fact we will be very glad just to make it to the finish line. But we sure plan to impress them a little with our rivalling resolve and effort!
Yes, we both got across the finish line. From Greenwich and Blackheath, all of the 26.2 miles passing the Meridian Line, the Cutty Sark, City Hall, crossing the Thames over the Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, scooping a roar of adrenaline from the ActionAid bunch, which included my dear Nezbud, positioned at the Canary Wharf, on to Cleopatra’s Needle, The London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and finishing in The Mall
A fantastic experience. Very hard but unforgettable. Explosive ambiance. Londoners are such a great cheering crowd: their support has helped us enormously!
We ran the whole way together. Edo claimed he could not have gone any faster without me. And his presence definitely helped me to stay relatively sane and on course!
Finishing in 04:51:17 -- yes, both of us finishing in the same second! -- we may have left most of the records to others, but we conquered the most important, that is our own limitations, we scared away our fears and overpowered our weaknesses. We did it! And we surely left a big crowd behind us.
For me it was the first marathon ever, so definitely a personal record. And a rite of passage!
See the map of our track at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/79994712.
Thanks again to everybody who has believed in us and especially to those who helped with a bit of money for ActionAid. Everybody else: please help us reach the fundraising minimum of 3600 £. The ultimate deadline is June 25th. Thank you!
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