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Michael’s Virgin Money London Marathon story

“The best part is crossing the starting line”

Marathon runner proudly showing his medal

Every year, the Virgin Money London Marathon is made up of tens of thousands of people, each with their own story and motivation for taking on this challenge. One of the people who took on the journey in 2017 was Michael Nollet. We asked him to share his story with us.

“Funnily enough, the best part of my entire marathon journey was crossing the starting line. So much had gone on before this point: all the fundraising, all the blogging, all the training and talking about it for so long. Even getting to the start was nerve-racking because a whole load of trains were cancelled that morning and a group of us had gathered along the way, trying to get to the start in time. Finally crossing that line, and switching my stopwatch on was an amazing feeling, with all the runners around you whooping and the crowds cheering.

I had trained surprisingly well leading up to the marathon and with all the crowd urging me on throughout the run, getting to the finishing line was easier than I expected. But nothing prepared me for ending the race; actually crossing that finishing line when I finally stopped running. Suddenly I had achieved my goal and it was all over!

I didn’t know what to do with myself. I walked around London aimlessly – close to tears – trying to compute what I had just done. It was such a personal journey.

Running for a charity completely spurred me on. Ten years earlier, I survived a brain tumour and running for Brain Research UK allowed me to reflect on my experience – not only did this help me move on but it helped motivate me every time I needed that extra push to go training on those cold nights! During the marathon itself too, every time it got hard, I just needed to think of all the funding I’d raised, and what every step meant to my charity.

It’s important for future runners and fundraisers to remember that just like the run itself, fundraising is a marathon not a sprint! On the first day of my fundraising, I was amazed how much I’d raised through social media – but then the next few months went very slowly. That’s just part of the parcel. Keep blogging, keep up the postings. The funding just keeps trickling in!”

Brain Research UK

We spoke to Brain Research UK about what people like Michael taking on challenges can mean for them.

11,000 people every year are diagnosed with brain tumours and one in every five people in the UK lives with a neurological condition. We are so grateful that Michael’s story had a happy ending – but sadly there are too many that don’t.

Money raised through events such as the Virgin Money London Marathon help fund world-class neurological research – research that aims to help improve the lives of those affected, to develop new treatments and ultimately to discover cures. Research that could one day mean that everyone’s story ends like Michael’s.

You may also be interested in Heidi’s Virgin Money London Marathon story, as well as suggestions from other fundraisers in Your top ten fundraising tips.

Have you gone the extra mile to inspire more people to donate? We’d love to hear your story and top fundraising tips on Facebook and Twitter.

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