Catch Me If You Khan!

Read Sadiq's full column in the South London Press below.

Readers of the South London Press may have already heard the news that this Sunday I will be lacing up my trainers and joining 35,000 other runners, including my Olympic hero Mo Farah, to run the London Marathon. 

Growing up in South London, marathon day was something my family always looked forward to. Every year we’d head out to cheer on the runners, a tradition I’ve since carried on with my own family. Since it began in 1981, the marathon has become the capital's biggest single-day festival. It provides an annual opportunity to celebrate that community spirit we showed during the Olympics - from families giving high-fives from their gardens in Greenwich, to crowds standing five deep on the Embankment waving Union Jacks and screaming support. But despite my lifelong love for the marathon, I never, ever saw myself being on the other side and running it myself! 

For those that don’t know, I’m no runner. The most I’d run before signing up was a charity 10K fun run – and I have a serious weakness for Mars bars. But when I was told about the fantastic work the Dispossessed Fund does, supporting hundreds of charities and thousands of people across London, and in my constituency of Tooting too, how could I say no? So here I am, eight weeks later, a little lighter, a little more tired, and only a matter of days before the big race itself. 

Training has been hard work, squeezed in between meetings with local residents and parliamentary votes. My body is certainly feeling the effects too; you may have spotted me hobbling to my advice surgery on a Monday morning, or on one of my many visits to the local osteopath (believe me the teams at Streatham Osteopaths and the ReCentre in Balham are miracle workers!) The support I have received from friends, family and local residents has been incredible. But above all else, the greatest motivation has been raising as much money as possible for the Dispossessed Fund. Over the past eight weeks I have been fortunate to visit some of the brilliant causes supported by the fund across London, from the Klevis Kola Foundation in Tooting, to Advocacy in Greenwich and Befriend a Family in Westminster. The work that I have seen that they do will be a real boost to keep going when my legs are screaming to stop. 

I am sure that there may be moments on the 26.2 miles, when I curse the day I signed up, but I know already that deciding to run will be one of the best decisions I have ever made. Wish me luck and do shout your support if you see me on Sunday – I’m going to need it! You can follow my progress on twitter @SadiqKhan and at #YesWeKhan. 

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