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This week's training blog is a little different… while I had been planning to write about the brilliant strides of our team, and a hilarious anecdote of a parched Harrier coming across a lemonade-selling mirage, on Friday, I was handed the most generous, thoughtful and heart-warming surprise ever. Hayley Pollock, one of the craziest but kindest girls I know (and one of the most reluctant team members in the beginning), nominated me to start the marathon on the day.  As a result of her email, the Edinburgh Marathon Festival organisers have chosen me to be the Official Starter for the Edinburgh Half Marathon!! Can you believe it?! This is such a privilege and I am so completely honoured, as are my amazing family and friends. My dad once officially started the Great North Run, and so as you can imagine was completely overcome by this news!!

Hayley definitely has a way with words and subsequently had all the girls in the office in tears with her lovely nomination, so I feel it is prevalent to share her email. It’s so overwhelming to read how Hayley sees me through her eyes, however what I see back is one of the strongest women I know. I am part of a team, part of the INCo Harriers and we all inspire and push each other to do better.  I’ve said my bit so I will hand over to the lovely Hayley:

Hayley’s Email:

If you had asked me a year or so ago to put my 6inch stilettos to the side, grab a pair of Asics and begin pacing the streets of Glasgow in the rain - the reaction you would have received is ‘eh, bolt hen.'

That is of course, until I met someone who has absolutely inspired me… the one and only Louise Lamont.

In the grander scheme of things; my story of where I am today would seem minor compared to many others, never the less it’s a worthy story to tell so others can understand just how much one person can absolutely make an impact and change your entire outlook.

It’s very much all part of growing up; but in losing my mother and in dealing with this as I felt was right over the past years, and after what could be deemed as a destructive relationship with someone who was very much not destined to be ‘my lobster’ – a kind friend saw through the façade and the smile, and that is all it has taken to grow into the confident, running, jogging, active social butterfly which I am today – the one and only Louise of course.

Louise’s story is not dissimilar, which may be why we orbited towards a strong friendship – must have been written in the stars.

After many years of kicking cancer’s ass, Louise’s beautiful mum Mary Thomson sadly lost her battle and passed away peacefully and surrounded by her loving family. The strength and determination shown by Louise in dealing with this has been absolutely inspiring to say the least, and the charity work carried out by her throughout this time has been inspirational. Running and cycling around the country raising money and awareness to support others in the same situations have been some of the most selfless acts I have ever seen, and certainly puts things into perspective.

Do you know how difficult it is to motivate 12 borderline lazy / out-of-shape misfits for a half marathon? Louise does!

She has been the absolute driving force behind our team who are participating, and regardless if it’s  sun, rain, hail, snow, blizzards, hurricanes (all in the same day of course), she has had us oot-and-aboot, and pelting it around Glasgow City Centre to get us match fit for Edinburgh on the 29th May!

The day will rightly be in honour of Mary Doll, and the sponsorship we have raised from our kind family and friends is set to be split across 3 amazing cancer charities in the UK; Sarcoma UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Support Scotland – all charities which will be close to everyone’s hearts.

It’s not human nature that makes us get up and fight on – it’s people like Louise.

Edinburgh, let’s be having you!

EMF Response:

Hi Hayley

Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to write such a beautiful nomination, it made us all smile and cry in the office in equal measure.

Secondly, although we have selected another candidate to start the Edinburgh Marathon, we'd like to extend an opportunity for Louise to be the Official Starter for the Half Marathon instead. Hopefully it will work in quite well with her running the event and being able to start you all on your journey.

If you could please pass this message onto Louise, to make sure she's happy to do this, then email me back and let me know and I can let you both know further details.

Again, thank you so much and have a fantastic weekend!

Best wishes, Annette

Although this blog has been a little different than my usual training updates, I couldn’t leave without putting another one of our fantastic team members into the spotlight. Fergal is our much loved QA Manager and has been everything from Team Photographer, to Motivator with his ridiculous jokes and facts of the day;

So… 13.1 miles… 21km… 40,000 yards… None of these figures fill me with confidence in any way…

This time last year I found myself in Edinburgh walking 26 miles through the night. It was cold, dark, wet, painful, and exhausting… and then the warm up finished and we had to start the walk. I got through it… but it was a walk I got through. Running is different.

Many lifetimes ago I was a semi-successful junior middle distance runner. I still remember the pain I went through then, and the mental strength I needed to drag me through some races, and I think that mental strength is what will hopefully pull me through on May 29th.  As far as training goes I’ve been unorganised and lazy. I’ve done about 5 stints of 4 miles, and a few lesser runs in total. I am without a doubt ill prepared for what awaits me on the streets of Auld Reekie. I’ve tried to do a Facebook search for the driver of the Sweeper bus so that I can get to know him before the race in the hope that he likes me, and keeps me going as I drag myself around the course perilously close to the bus’ front bumper. I fully expect to hear the burr of a bus engine for the majority of those 13 miles.

But the secret for me is staying ahead of that bus, just to keep pounding the pavement and refusing to give in, not allowing the mileage, the course, the weather, my lack of preparation or that damn bus to get the better of me. It will be a contest of wills, mine and… well whatever Edinburgh can throw at me on the day. I’m definitely not going to be running any kind of PB and I won’t be the athletic gym bunny type striding effortlessly around the course, I’ll be the slow, red faced sweaty panting one. But who cares?!

We’re running this for some very worthy cancer charities and the money will go to people in much bigger and more serious struggles than the one I’ll find myself in the shadow of the castle in two weeks’ time. So, if I’m ahead of that bus and I’ve got a stitch, got blisters and can hardly get a breath, then at least I’m ahead of that bus!

Me and you Edinburgh… square go… I’ve never liked you anyway.

With only two weeks to go until the big day, if you could donate to our wonderful charities; Sarcoma UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Support Scotland, we'd all really appreciate it!

Donate Now!