It’s been over a week since we ran the Paris Marathon and I’m still not sure how or what to write about the race. It’s all a bit of a blur to be honest with you, but it was definitely one of the best but hardest experiences of my life!

Nothing went according to plan for this marathon… From my ankle injury that disrupted my training to the extreme heat that messed up my race strategy – it genuinely felt like my whole journey to run Paris was an uphill battle filled with obstacles.

As you can imagine, running 26.2 miles is hard, but running 26.2 miles in 25 degrees and sunshine is even harder, and the heat was definitely the most difficult part for me to cope with due to my “overheating issues”.

Despite running in every bit of shade I could find, hydrating at every water station, pouring water over my head and arms, trying to keep a slow and steady pace, and having my own cheering duo following me around the course, I remember passing the 10K mark, smiling to myself and thinking “Oh shit Orsi, you are so incredibly fucked!!”

But luckily for me, I had the best race partner who encouraged me to keep on going when I thought that I couldn’t and together we managed to get through it all with a big smile on our faces. It wasn’t pretty at times and it definitely wasn’t fast, but we started and crossed the finish line hand in hand and I couldn’t be prouder of our accomplishment.

It took me 5 hours and 19 minutes to complete the Paris Marathon and even though it was almost one hour slower than my London Marathon time, I remember passing the 37K mark feeling so incredibly proud that despite not being able to walk properly four months earlier, I was now running a marathon and the running wasn’t even the hardest part of it all!

For a person who hates running, feeling and thinking like that was an incredible confidence boost and all I can think about since is: “So when are we running the next one?!”

Training for this marathon and then running it was a totally different experience from my first attempt in Copenhagen.

Back in 2014 it was me and Cata tackling this huge challenge together, whilst this time around I was all on my own, both in training and on race day.

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Not gonna lie, the end of 2015 was a bit of a low point in my life… But I somehow got through it and one of the things that helped was running.

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The nerves were on top the night before the race. It looked like the weather would be constantly changing and my biggest worry was overheating, which would result in disaster.

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It ended up being a sunny day but with some clouds and wet patches (thank god!). I was a big mix of emotions before the race (just look at my anxious smile haha) but I was determined to soak up the moment and enjoy it as much as possible.

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Here I am on Tower Bridge , just before the half way point, beaming like a ray of sunshine. I spotted my friends way before they spotted me and I couldn’t help but to burst out in laughter seeing their surprised faces when they finally clocked me standing in front of them (yes my friends are the best!).

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After seeing them on the bridge I only had one goal in mind and that was to make it to mile 21. The thought of seeing RDC and running through that (now) iconic Cheer Dem Crew spot was the only thing that kept me going for the next 8 miles. And WOW what a feeling, one of those moments I’ll treasure for the rest of my life!

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The rest of the race was HARD. I was getting more and more tired in my legs, the sun was burning my face, but I knew that I couldn’t give up so I kept on smiling and I kept on running.

Even though my toilet break had lead me to believe that my sub 4:30h dream was over, once I realised I might still have a chance I gave it everything I had left!

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And it worked!!! Despite the toilet break, quite a few hug-a-friend stops, a few I’ve-had-enough stops, and a slightly slower 3 final miles, I completed the London Marathon in 4 hours and 27 minutes!

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Definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it felt amazing and even more so seeing so many of my friends and SO MANY STRANGERS being out there cheering me and thousands of others on. Definitely one of the best days of my life!

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Massive thanks to all of you who helped me along the way in training and on the day – you rock my world and I’m so incredibly lucky to have you <3