Gary Howland, RNLI volunteer at the New Brighton station…He used to work on cruise ships and moved to the area in 2003. He joined the RNLI 6 years ago because he missed getting wet. Currently studying a degree in Mechanical Engineering at JMU he hopes to get into the Merchant Navy.

I did my last long steady run (LSR) yesterday. 20 miles. It was hard going and emotional. My right calf muscle felt like it was going to explode at around 14 miles. I walked a bit and it just felt like it would go. I was tired and on the verge of breaking into tears. I considered calling my girlfriend to come pick me up. I didn’t know if the next step would cause a massive leg injury or not. They say listen to your body. My body was telling me to stop doing stupid things. But that’s the thing about a marathon. You have to push past those messages from your body. I simply don’t have the experience to know which is a problem and which is something I can push past.

It was just so tough. I plodded on and made it to 20 miles. My average pace dropped from 12:30 to 13:00. At the 19th mile I met up with Sam, my girlfriend, and my spirits were lifted. I don’t just mean I cheered up, I mean I was elated like I’ve rarely felt. Seeing Sam, knowing I was nearly home and that it was nearly over was almost too much. I understand why people continue to do marathons. Putting yourself through that agony is tough but the reward at the end is like nothing else.

The marathon is just under 3 weeks away on 9th October. John Lennon’s birthday. 9/10/11. I have currently raised £624.22. I need to raise £1,000 in 3 weeks because I need to know that when I cross that finish line I’ve done it. You can sponsor me via the Just Giving page. Any amount is appreciated. Thank you.