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Guest blog: My London Marathon

Posted on: May 11 2017


Tristan Watson was one of our brave runners who took on the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, here he tells his story of the day...

Months and months of hard work, several new pairs of running shoes, kilos of pasta and a small fortune spent at my local physio, the marathon is done and dusted.

It's been three weeks now since I ran, and I'm still trying to take it all in and realise what we have all achieved. I say we because between us, we've raised over £3500 for MS-UK, and that's the real reason why I was putting myself through all of this. I've been truly blown away by the generosity of everyone, and I know that the charity are also extremely grateful for every penny raised. The Virgin Money London Marathon is MS-UK's biggest annual fundraising event, where they look to raise around £250,000.

I cannot thank you all enough!!

The day itself was incredible. It's one of the few moments in your life where you can feel like a famous sports-star, with 1 million people lining the route to cheer you on. People calling out your name and willing you to push that little bit harder. It's an amazing feeling, at least it is in your mind. For your body, a marathon is really as hard as you'd imagine - 26.2 miles is actually quite a long way...

The day started well. Some porridge in my hotel room before I skipped off to catch the train to the start. I bumped in to some other runners on the way and got chatting (a further reminder about how kind, generous and friendly the running community is). When we reached Greenwich common, I met up with the rest of the MS-UK team and had the obligatory pre-race photo, before queuing (again, and again, and again) for the toilet. 2017-lm-team.jpg

The course was busy. Much busier than I'd bargained for, and it meant finding my stride difficult. Early on I knew that my 4hr time target was out the window, but I didn't care. I quickly realised that the Virgin Money London Marathon is about much more than running a quick time (I'll save that for one of my 2018 marathons,watch this space). It's more of a carnival for runners. A huge mass gathering of like-minded individuals who just want to have a good time and raise some money for charity. I think that's much better than trying to run quickly.

t2.jpgI had plenty of support out on the route, with my Uncle & cousins at Cutty Sark, another cousin and friend at Canada Water, and Annabel and my Mum & Sister at Tower Bridge. I glided through the first half of the race in just over two hours and felt on top of the world! My cheering squads reassembled in to new locations for the second half of the race, as well as getting to see my charity cheering spots for the first time in Canary Wharf. What a boost that was for me, especially as cramp had just start to set in!!

Cramp - something I've never ever suffered with before, so why would it choose to rear its ugly head now at mile 17 of a marathon *unhappy face*. There's no point in sugar-coating it. It was bloody awful, and made the final 90 minutes of the race very very hard. But as I've already said, the crowd support surpasses every negative thought, feeling and emotion, and I pushed through! We got back in to the city, and in the distance I could see Big Ben. It was nearly time to knuckle down and smash out the final miles.

At this point I knew that whatever happened, I WOULD be finishing this journey. It was an overwhelming feeling. The crowds kept building, and getting louder and louder with each and every step I took. t3.jpg

Finally, the moment that surely every runner dreams of, turning the corner in front of Buckingham Palace and seeing The Mall open out in front of you... need I say any more! A rush of adrenaline, fist pumping, shouting out loud to yourself. It's over, it's done!

Getting through my first marathon was hard, but the whole thing was made just that little but easier with the help of a few people!

  • • My wife, friends and family - all of you have had to endure my constant chat about running as it engulfed my life for several months. Thank you for being quiet and patient whilst listening to me bang on...
  • • My physio, Tom Robinson at Excel Sports Clinic, keeping me physically in check, and offering some fantastic advice when my body was falling apart.
  • • The wonderful running community on #UKRunChat. If you're a runner of any ability, log in to twitter and get involved! A like-minded community of runners there at the click of your fingers to offer help, support and encouragement when it's most needed.
  • • The ever energetic Mike Phan with his daily emails! I wish I had the time to invest in Mike's running programme in York, but nonetheless, his daily emails (every single day) mentally kept me in check. Lots of thought provoking information to keep me motivated. I'd encourage you all to subscribe.
  • • Finally, the team at MS-UK, and all the fellow MS-UK runners. The staff at this charity do incredible work to help people live their lives with MS. It's been a real pleasure to raise money for them. Tristan.

Inspired to run the Virgin Money London Marathon? Watch the video of why some of our runners did in 2017! For more details on applying for MS-UK Gold Bond places please visit our Virgin Money London Marathon page.

MS Auckland invite you to New Zealand!

Posted on: May 10 2017

Hi everyone, You may remember earlier in the year when ms. Auckland got in touch about an event they are hosting - Clash of the Titans. Well, believe it or not the time is nearly here, as the event will be taking place in June 2017 at Eden Park!


This will be a grand event featuring the hilarious Jeremy Corbett as MC and many well-known rugby enthusiasts, including the very special Sir Graham Henry. You can now also watch the YouTube clip of the radio ad that Phil Gifford has done for the event - and Phil will be there on the night! So, if you're venturing to New Zealand next month, and manage to attend this event, do let me know - I would love to see the photos! Best wishes,


Laura May Marketing Manager, MS-UK

Runners stories - watch the video!

Posted on: May 09 2017

Hi everyone,

In April, over 100 people took part in the Virgin Money London Marathon for team MS-UK, raising money to help us continue our work supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis.

I would have loved to share all of their stories, but the film may have been a bit too long! So, instead I hope you’ll enjoy this short video of runner stories.

If you missed out on entering the 2018 ballot last week, don’t forget you can apply for one of our Gold Bond places by visiting our website.

Best wishes,

Jill Purcell logo

Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager

World MS Day is coming!

Posted on: May 08 2017

logo_stacked_colour_2017en.jpgHi everyone,

This month sees World MS Day (Wednesday 31 May), and here at MS-UK we will be celebrating throughout the day on Twitterand Facebook, to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis and hopefully share some top tips from you!

Got some inspiration for how to handle incontinence? Know a great way to ease neuropathic pain? Whatever your top tip for living life with MS, we want to hear from you!

Email us your top tips before Friday 19 May, to make sure we include you!


We will be using the hashtag #LifewithMS throughout the whole day, so do join in!

I look forward to sharing your tips on the day, and thanks for being part of the conversation,

Best wishes,


John Habkirk

Digital Officer, MS-UK

Guest blog: Mont Blanc is in sight!

Posted on: May 04 2017

In this guest blog from Tom Carr, we get a quick update as he nears Mont Blanc. Tom is climbing Mont Blanc, and then skiing all the way down again for his epic fundraising challenge in aid of MS-UK!

Well we’re off….
Sitting in the car park at Eurotunnel on our way to Chamonix for the epic challenge.
Having returned from Everest base camp just 10 days ago I hope that I’m fully acclimatised, but possibly work to do early next week.



I’ll meet my guide tomorrow afternoon, with our first ascent on Monday.

Camping out Monday night halfway up Mt Blanc. We then descend Tuesday hopefully on skis. This is to help with acclimatisation.

So as they say… watch this space! But for now its an overnight pit stop at a lovely town called Bleze!

You can sponsor Tom today on his JustGiving page, or find out more about joining him in an adventure of your own by visiting our fundraising webpage!

Helpline opening hours survey

Posted on: May 03 2017

the-ms-uk-helpline-team-kim-ryan-and-laura.jpgHi everyone,

We wanted to let you know about our latest survey…we would like to know your thoughts about our Helpline opening hours.
Currently the MS-UK Helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and is available via the freephone telephone number (0800 783 0518), live web chat or email.

The Helpline is staffed by trained advisors (that’s us!) to offer all the information you may need to make your own decisions.
We are reviewing our opening hours and exploring whether there is demand for us to extend those hours to provide a service through existing and maybe new channels.
Please take the time to complete our survey to help us to make plans for the future.


Thank you so much for helping us with this research, your opinion will help us shape this service for the future!

Best wishes,

Kim, Ryan and Laura

The MS-UK Helpline team

The marathon ballot is now open!

Posted on: May 02 2017

ms-uk_marathon_2017_large_020.jpgHi everyone,

It’s 354 days until the next Super Sunday, and all this week the Virgin Money London Marathon ballot will be open, so if you fancy running one of the most iconic cities in the world, don’t forget to enter!

The public ballot entry system for the 2018 run is open until 17.00 this Friday, 05 May 2017.

Visit the Virgin Money London Marathon website to enter today, and good luck!
Best wishes,


Nicholas Adams

Fundraising Assistant, MS-UK

MS Awareness Week thank you!

Posted on: May 02 2017

blog-image-020517.jpgHi everyone,

I just wanted to say a big thank you for supporting MS-UK during MS Awareness Weekby adding my #SmilesWithMyles twibbon to your social media profile pictures!

Over 300 of you lovely people added my twibbon, and it all helped us to spread a positive message throughout the week – thank you!

MS-UK published lots of information about multiple sclerosis to celebrate MS Awareness Week, including Samreena’s real life story about HSCTTaflyn’s story about living life to the full and an infographic about the invisible symptoms of MS, so do take a read of the MS-UK blog.

If you missed last week, you can sign up to the MS-UK e-newsletter to stay up-to-date about future campaigns such as World MS Day.

Big bear hugs!


Myles, the MS-UK mascot