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A Noble effort

My name is Michelle Noble. Three years ago my boyfriend Dan Edmonds was competing in his first kickboxing match when a blow to his head changed our lives forever. Dan was transferred to The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London where he was taken to the intensive care unit. Unfortunately Dan’s head injuries were too severe and he died two days later on the 27th October 2009.

Dan was always a very giving person, always wanting to help people. He fulfilled his dream of being a fire-fighter and even after his death continued helping others – saving seven people’s lives by donating his organs.

I always wanted to do something to give back to the hospital, nurses and doctors who tried so desperately to save Dan’s life and who were amazingly supportive at such a tough time. I never got the chance to properly thank them.

Even though Dan loved anything to do with the gym, I absolutely hate it. I am not the most athletic person and had never run two minutes without stopping. I signed up to the Royal Parks Half Marathon for The National Brian Appeal to raise vital funds for the hospital and in a small way to say thank you to the hospital and staff.

I started my training by running once or twice a week but found it a real struggle even getting past a mile or two. A week before the run I had nervous knots in my stomach and really didn’t think I could do it – I had only ever been able to get up to seven miles once and had walked most of it!

The support from family and friends was amazing. They helped me raise over £1,000 and my run had made the local paper. A week before the race I had a message from one of Dan’s friends, whom he had worked with over five years ago, letting me know he and a friend were also doing the Royal Parks Half Marathon and would be more than happy to give me moral support and help me on the day.

The night before the run I had butterflies in my stomach and could hardly sleep, but I did manage a bowl full of pasta which I was assured would help (I needed all the help I could get!). On the morning of the run I was up at 6.00am and dragged my best friend Laura to the train station to catch the replacement bus to Euston. It was only when we were on the tube on our way toHyde Parkthat it really began to sink in. It seemed as though everyone around me looked like a professional runner, but I knew I just had to keep in my mind what I was doing the run for and how much money I had raised.

I met up with Dan’s friends Kevin and Chris, they helped me stretch and showed me where we had to go and calmed my nerves (a bit). As we stood in tunnels and I saw all the supporters my nerves actually stopped jittering and I found myself starting to enjoy the experience. The support from the crowd was unbelievable! It was only because of the people cheering me on and camaraderie between the runners that I kept running for 3 miles without even realising or stopping to walk.

At mile six I saw my mum, dad, sister, brother-in-law, nieces and nephew, and I could not have wished for a better boost to get me through to mile nine. The next couple of miles went so quickly, being cheered all the way along the path by both some of my friends and Dan’s friends. Kev and Chris were amazing at keeping me going – Kev even started singing Tom Jones on the way round to help keep our spirits up.

By the time I saw the 11 mile mark I could not believe it and could not wait to see the finish line. 500m from the end I had an amazing boost of energy and the crowd noise was awesome. Unbelievably I found the energy to run over the finish line. As soon as I crossed it I burst in to tears. It was such an adrenaline rush and to think I had actually completed a half marathon, and for a charity that was so close to my heart. I had never set a goal in terms of time as I didn’t think I’d even manage to finish the half marathon, but I did and finished it in 2h 48m, which I was ecstatic about seeing as I had never run more than seven miles before.

Dan would never in a million years have believed I’d be able to run a half marathon and I cannot wait to do the Royal Parks half marathon next year for the National Brain Appeal – hopefully I can get my time to under 2h 30m and raise even more money. I also now know the importance of going and being part of the crowd to cheer people on, as I know what a boost it is to anyone running.

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