Stuart London Marathon

Ascend’s Brave Stuart Completes London Marathon Despite Injury!

On the 21st of April, Ascend’s Senior Account Executive, Stuart Belbin, took part in the London Marathon, running for Havens Hospices, an Essex Charity that provides specialist care and support for people of all ages living with incurable conditions, and their families.
After months of training, Stuart was well prepared for the event, but, unfortunately, things didn’t go quite according to plan…
Stuart explains in this interview:

Congratulations on completing the London Marathon, Stuart! We hear you suffered an injury part way round. Can you tell us what happened?

The day started off brilliantly. I was running well and loving the atmosphere. I saw my friends in a few different spots cheering me on, and then disaster struck around mile 15/16. I felt a sharp shooting pain in my right shin, just below the knee, and found myself trying to run with a limp that eventually turned into… just a limp! I was strapped up a couple of times by physios at mile 16 and then at 17, but I realised, after that, I wouldn't be able to run any more so carried on limping to the end!
The closer I got to the finish line, the more the support grew. The last 1km was so difficult, because you can see the distance markers getting closer and closer, but the pain was excruciating!
When I finished, I collected my bag and stopped for a brief moment to take stock of what had just happened, but at that point onwards I was unable to put any weight on my leg. The excellent volunteers at St John Ambulance put me in a wheelchair, to be assessed, before arranging for an ambulance to take me to hospital. Following X-rays, it turns out I have a stress fracture across my tibia.

Such a shame, Stuart! So, what time did you finish in?

My time was 5 hours 51 minutes, which is a shame, because I was running at a pace, initially, where I'd finish around 4 hours 30. However, now that I can reflect on what I put my body through, I'm very happy with the time and I've got the opportunity to beat it in the future.

What was the atmosphere like?

The atmosphere was ultimately what got me round. There were people cheering the whole way round, various local bands performing on the side of the streets, including steel drums, acapella, gospel choirs - all sorts! It was truly incredible and inspiring. London really turned up!

Did you feel camaraderie with others helped you complete the course, too?

Yes, there was camaraderie while you wait nervously to start, but I really felt it when I was limping. People stopped countless times as they ran past to make sure I was ok! It was phenomenal, as was seeing all the inspiring people do the marathon, from elite athletes, through to everyday people all facing their own challenges, and taking part together.

What is your best memory of the day? (If there is one!)

Tower Bridge - it was rammed with supporters! And there were charities popping countless confetti cannons by Cutty Sark, where you enter a huge wave of cheering, screaming and encouragement as you round such a famous landmark!

How long will your recovery take? I believe there is another Ascend charity sporting event coming up?

Recovery is about 6 weeks until I'm out of my cast. I've sadly had to withdraw from the charity bike ride Ascend are planning next. My colleagues will be cycling from Essex to Amsterdam on the 21st of June, for Kids Inspire, another local charity, that offers mental health and recovery services to children and families impacted by trauma. The fast-approaching date would not leave me enough time to complete my rehab, and medical advice is that I need to withdraw. But I wish the team the best of luck!

Can people still donate to Havens Hospices?

Yes! Donations can still be made for this amazing cause. Some people, quite rightly, wait to see if you make it round and I sure did, whether that was running or limping! So far, I've raised a staggering £2,041 - all donations make such an impact for Havens, so please continue to dig deep, if you can. Thank you!
Please click the link for donations to Havens Hospices HERE and continue to support Stuart’s valiant London Marathon attempt, and this wonderful local charity!

Well done, Stuart!

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