These are indeed very strange times in which we are living. The CSF Leak Association had a charity entry set up to take part in the London Marathon this April, but that race was deferred until October as the Covid story slowly unfolded. Then in September that deferred in- person race was changed to a virtual event, meaning that runners could run any 26.2 mile course of their choosing on the October 4th date. Runners’ efforts were to be tracked with a smartphone app, so that friends and family could follow their progress and support them remotely for the duration of their run.

Our nominated runner was my wife Claire Secker. She had developed some niggling leg injury issues over the summer, and so was not in optimal physical shape as the October 4th date loomed. But she is mentally very tough, and because lots of kind, generous people had sponsored her, she did not want to let anyone down. So she just decided that she must go for it, and get through the miles however she could - run, walk, or crawl!

On the virtual raceday, Claire happened to be visiting family by the Atlantic Ocean in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, so that’s where she had to complete her marathon run. She woke at 5:30am, ate some oatmeal, and prepared to set off as soon as the sun rose at 7am. The weather was grey, cool and damp, but there was little humidity, wind or blazing sun to contend with.

The early miles ticked by nicely, and the injured leg agreed to behave. Unfortunately the London Marathon smartphone app was not so cooperative, and only seemed to register Claire at the 2-mile and 12- mile points on the course. At least it successfully knew when 26.2 miles was completed.

Running virtually is a very solitary experience compared to the buzz of running with 50,000 other runners in a real race. Claire got some support from our North Carolina neighbour Victoria, who cycled down to the beach to provide a morale boost. Claire even managed to spot another London runner who was wearing an official race number and who was covering the same seafront road.

The miles ticked by nicely, even though the rain became progressively heavier as the morning wore on. By the time she finished running sometime after noon, Claire was soaked but very happy to be done.

She had raised a brilliant £2,000 for our favourite charity, and could chalk up another successful marathon run. I couldn’t be prouder of her efforts. It’s not too late! Please consider donating to this very worthy cause by clicking on this link. Claire and the entire CSF Leak community truly appreciate any donations:

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