The timing of this year’s London Marathon was sublime: they somehow picked the single sunny day in between two spells of horrid British weather, with downpours & floods hitting the capital amidst reports of how few schools & hospitals were built in sustainable locations not on a flood plane.
Marathon day is to me a kind of New Year celebration, as it annually serves to demonstrate to me how cynical I’ve become since the last event. In the run-up I’m always criticising competitors’ JustGiving pages, skipping thru LinkedIn posts in which they overshare details of training & meditation regimens. Then the day dawns and I’m awe-struck at the crowds turning out to support.
There’s something transcendent in the runners, and in the coming together of such an audience (tens of thousands line the streets, and since 2021 we’ve added a gigantic virtual audience to this as well as all manner of other mass attendance events). We turn up and sink into the occasion shared by so many admirers. For those of us (yours truly) too disorganised to have got around to any training (let alone registered for a ticket, raised any funds, etc) it’s a gobsmacking reminder of what’s possible, a model for how to align our lives.
Each year it reminds me not to be so cynical, and instead share in the joy of watching fellow humans live out their dreams and savour the fruits of the seriously impressive hard work that’s gone into all sorts of gruelling training programs. One particular competitor from this year’s event is James McAulay:
- “London Marathon 2021 was one of the greatest experiences of my life”
- “Complete my first IRONMAN triathlon on Sunday in 12h37m!”
- “… recognising amazing work … how we do it at Encore”
- “I cycled 220km to Wales … deleted all social media”
- “Encore customers spent a whopping £29k on musician hire yesterday”
- “Motivation. It’s either something you have, or you don’t — right?”
James is worth following on LinkedIn + Strava for those & similar insightful perspectives. He has founded an impressive Music Tech startup that, in 7 short years, has brought joy to thousands of customers for every kind of event. His diligence in publishing the success of that exciting company, and self-belief hacks that he’s studied & developed to support it, is an aspirational #idealology. Hence the first in this new series of essays.
Click through the posts above, if only for the first link which — proof at last! — will show you a glorious London sky beaming out over those October runners.