Competition to do the London marathon is fierce, even with the huge number of people taking part. I'm hugely grateful to MQ for giving me the opportunity to run for them and raise awareness of the fantastic work they do.
The reason I threw my hat (should that be running shoes?) in the ring with MQ is that they are a mental health research charity. By supporting them I am helping them to create innovative new ways to tackle mental health issues, and therefore reach a huge number of people, both now and in the future.
Why a marathon? Why not a bake sale or sit in a bathtub full of beans?
I've been a keen runner for years but it was only when my mate Steve Kennedy, a veteran marathon runner, started dragging me out on freezing cold Sunday mornings that I started to increases both my speed and distance. Thanks to him in 2014 I ran my first ever half marathon at Silverstone. The following year I ran my first marathon in Manchester.
My first marathon went like a dream, at least until Mile 22. Then it started hurting. I later discovered I had badly injured my hamstring and wouldn't be running again for a few months, on the plus side the adrenaline carried me over the line in 3 hours and 48 minutes.
My second marathon was Milton Keynes this year. This went like a dream too, until mile 16. Then the too quick start and the heat battered me for the last 10 miles.
Somehow I managed to scrape in just under 4 hours at 3.56.
So I'm not expecting London to be easy. But then you don't do marathons because there easy, you do them because they are hard (thank you JFK for the quote).
I love training for them, I love running most of them, but mainly I love completing them as it's such a massive achievement, made all the sweeter this year as I'll be helping other people along the way.
Niall Spencer, Project Manager