silicon.com's amateur runner did it for the IT Relief charity, although not all that stylishly...Thump, arrgghhh, thump, arrgghhh, thump, arrgghh. Mile 22. Every footfall jars my thigh muscles. I keep telling myself: 'There is no pain, there is no pain.' If I say it enough times it will become true. Except it doesn't. But it does help another five seconds pass by. A five second cocktail of blurred pain and determination. "Go Ian, go," scream people I've never met, giving me the lift I so dearly need. The spirit of the 2002 Flora London Marathon is a strong as ever. Men and women who wouldn't normally give you the time of day on the tube are out in force, shouting, chatting, smiling, laughing and celebrating the millions of pounds being raised for all charities great and small. As Big Ben looms large in front of me I know I'm nearly there. The atmosphere is electric. The hairs on the neck of every runner stand on end. I turn into Parliament Square and find a new burst of energy. Into Birdcage walk and I'm really piling on the pace. I tear past people screaming my name, and the names of every other runner who had the presence of mind to write it on their vests. Suddenly I'm in front of Buckingham Palace and turning into the Mall. The finish is right there. I'm sprinting. Overtaking people in a final frenzied exorcism. Over the line. Foil blanket around my shoulders and a medal around my neck, I wander aimlessly with thousands of other runners, grinning and stumbling like a baby who only just learned to walk. Dazed, in pain, but happy. If that's the glamour end of the marathon, then the start is anything but. Being herded into caged groups with people either dressed in, or carrying, rhino suits, boats, caveman outfits, sedan chairs, giant mobile phones, giant watches, Superman, Batman, Tarzan, Jane, giant caterpillars and sub-aqua gear. Next comes a paddle towards the start, and I do mean a paddle. Every runner has been drinking water like it's the last drop on earth, and it all has to go somewhere. Half an inch of urine covers the road, and you and all the runners next to you can't help but splash it up your own and your neighbours' legs. We all try not to think about it. Four hundred yards into the Flora London Marathon and I have to stop. An old lady says: "Don't stop, keep going." But I explain to her it's because Wonder Woman (who my running partner is dressed as) needs a wee, and I have to wait. Don't recall that ever happening in the 70s TV series, but never mind. Back on the road again and it's utter chaos. 33,000 people are trying to fit down a road only just big enough for half that number. But it's good-natured chaos. Everyone is wearing huge smiles, even when a bunch of onlookers spray us with water pistols. Bands are playing, people are cheering and everything is right with the world. Three hours and 40 minutes after the start I cross the line. Four months of preparation, a lot of pain, a lot of nervous paranoia, and I've managed to raise well over a thousand pounds for children with special needs. That's what it's really about. Not running it in a certain time. It's about putting yourself through your own little bit of hell so you can make someone else's life less painful. That thought makes me feel like just for once I've done something that is pure good. I keep that in my head as I ease myself in the direction of the pub to celebrate in the way I know best. With all the friends and family who sacrificed their time and money to help me do this, and who will probably never know how much it meant when I saw them cheering me on, on that oh so special Sunday morning. Just for a moment I felt special too. Five bottles of Becks and tequila Red Bull later I was mortal again. A marathon-sized thank you to:
Network Appliance: You are absolute stars for your generosity. Anyone interested in the storage specialist should log onto http://www.netapp.com The Source: Heroes too, and equally as generous as the aforementioned firm. Again anyone interested in this excellent industry resource for PRs and journalists, log onto http://sourcewire.com Plus others I'd like to thank personally are Megan Codling and Caroline Hitchen at Insight, Bill Mew at IBM, Sean Corbett at Grouptrade, Bob Jones, industry entrepreneur, founder of Equiinet and all-round nice bloke, plus Miriam McNicol at Red Brick, and Dave Richmond of database e-integration specialist Striva, as well as the myriad friends and relatives who have also helped out. If you still want to lend a hand to IT Relief (http://www.itrelief.org ) and children with special needs charity KIDS (http://www.kids-online.org.uk ), bung a cheque in the post payable to 'KIDS' to IT Relief Marathon, c/o Silicon Media Group, Anchor House, 15-19 Britten Street, London. SW3 3TY.