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Home > News and views > A marathon achievement

A marathon achievement

On Sunday 28 April, ESU Lindemann scholar and biophysics lecturer Steven Quinn ran the London Marathon on the ESU’s behalf, raising over £2,300 so far. He ran the 26.2 miles in an incredible 5.19.32, crossing the finish line on the Mall at 16.01.02. ‘Without the Lindemann Fellowship from the ESU I would not be where I am today,’ says Steven. ‘It’s always been a dream of mine to complete a marathon but I accomplished something far more meaningful by completing it on behalf of the ESU.’ Read his blog below:

‘There were many wintry nights when it felt like crossing the London Marathon finish line just wasn’t possible. Now, I have a lifetime of knowing that I have.

I still need to pinch myself. I cannot believe that I did it. The whole 26.2 miles. And it feels great!

It was an amazing day, from start to finish, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. The day started off with a very nervous breakfast (should I eat the bagel and the banana?) followed by checks and double-checks that I had all the marathon essentials (bib, timing chip, gels, headphones….). An even more nervy train journey followed (would there be delays?) but I arrived at the starting zone in Greenwich Park with plenty of time to spare. There were runners for as far as the eye could see. Some were performing their pre-run stretching rituals while others were relaxing on the grass, and those who were caught on camera and then displayed on the giant jumbotron screen were ecstatic and jumping around with joy. The atmosphere was building, and I was eager to get going.

The starting gun went off at 10:05, and I along with 40,000 others slowly made our way to the start line, and I began my journey at 10:35. Almost immediately, the streets were lined with cheering crowds, children were giving hi-fives and the atmosphere was electric. I knew I was in for a treat and any signs of nerves were gone. The course itself was packed full of runners, and when I checked my time at mile 1, 11 minutes had passed, 90 seconds slower than my usual training pace. It seemed, however, like I had only been running for a matter of seconds. I promised myself not to dwell on times and go out and enjoy the experience; the weather was perfect for running, and I knew that memories were going to be made.

By the first 5k, I had already spent time chatting to fellow runners. Some were running their sixth and final “Major Marathon”, while many others, like me, were running for charity. Inspiration was everywhere.

The first 13.1 miles flew by in 2 hours and 10 minutes, and in that time I had visited the Cutty Sark (mile 7) and crossed Tower Bridge (mile 12). I had half a thought of a 4 hour 30 minute finish in the back of my mind, but any thought of that went immediately out of the window when I saw friends and family cheering me on at 15, 18 and 23 miles. I stopped each time to tell them about what an amazing experience it had been so far. As a research scientist, it was also fantastic to see so much support for combatting diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s (my field of research), and I spent some time chatting to those with supportive banners and flags, and thanking them for their support. Donations do genuinely make a difference.

At mile 24 the legs were holding up well, though muscles that I never knew existed decided to let themselves be known, and I started to stagger between running and walking. With the London Eye fast approaching, however, and Big Ben on the horizon, I knew the end was in sight, and by mile 25, I felt invincible. With 300 yards to go, and Buckingham Palace on my left, the finish line came into view, and that’s when I knew I was going to accomplish a lifelong dream.

As a child, I had watched athletes from far and wide cross the famous finish line on TV, and now, years later, and after 5 hours, 19 minutes and 32 seconds after crossing the start line, it was my turn. My dream had become a reality, and I had the biggest grin on my face as I realised I had not only completed the London Marathon, but accomplished something far more meaningful, by completing it on behalf of the ESU.

There was no wall to break through. There was just sheer joy. This was a marathon to celebrate the ESU.

I am so thankful and grateful to have had so many supporters encouraging me to keep going, and for sponsoring me along the way. This truly was a team effort. Now, a few days on after the London Marathon, and after reflecting on how much I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I can’t wait to get my running shoes back on and do it all again.’

There is still time to show your support for Steven by sponsoring him here. 

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