Positive thinking - or how to live with occasional incompetence

george's picture

A London Marathon place is a pretty big deal for any keen runner, so you wouldn’t normally expect a successful applicant to lose out on a place because of failure to pay the entry fee, but as I found out just last Tuesday that is exactly what I managed to do. That means that since last October I have been running my socks off, blissfully unaware that I had already lost my place!

So how did I manage that? OK, I admit I sometimes walk in to a room and forget why I have gone there, and can sometimes spend 30 minutes looking for my car keys but I don’t normally forget the more important things like putting my trousers on in the morning or cooking raw meat, so how could I not pay for my marathon place? I don’t know the answer, in fact I can’t remember what I was thinking when I read the instructions for payment which came in September; it was either “Oh that doesn’t affect me because I have already paid” or “I must look out for the email telling me how to pay”, but either way I never saw an email, and I was off out of the front door preparing for what was going to be a great occasion. Big mistake.

Last Monday I mentioned to a fellow London marathon runner that I was surprised that I hadn’t received my final instructions, and when he mentioned that he had received his weeks ago I started to get worried. I phoned Virgin and they told me that they had never received my money so I didn’t have a place. It wasn't a great feeling I have to say (!). I couldn’t understand this at all, I was sure they had received all my details, but now after doing some digging I do understand what happened and I have found the 2 emails they sent me telling me they had not received my money, one went straight to my junk email and the other I didn’t notice amongst the dozens of London marathon email Newsletters that come through.

So how do I feel about it? Well for the first few days I was distraught, and I am still thinking about it most of the time; I think this posting is a partial attempt to get over the rotten feeling, but I am beginning to see the positive side of things: I don’t feel at all bitter about all the training I did – I enjoyed every minute of it; I am also 100% sure that I shouldn’t have run it anyway, I have been dogged with suspected shin splints for the last few weeks and the last run I did I had to give up after 7 miles; and, however bad I feel about it now is nothing to what I would feel if I was fully fit and training had gone well.

So what do I do to make sure it does not happen again? Well apart from the obvious thing of changing my junk email settings I basically have to remember not to forget things in the future. How can I be more positive about my occasional forgetfulness? Well to be more positive I believe I have to remember all the things that I have not forgotten and to remember all the times when I might have forgotten something but I haven’t. I think that might help.
I will be feeling some embarrassment when I next come to the club so if you could find it within yourselves to give me a mildly sympathetic pat on the back instead of an uncontrollable snigger I will be happy to buy you a pint Smiling .


P.S. Many congratulations to Alex on the birth of her baby!

george's picture

Wise words

Nigel, very wise words, but then you do have youth on your side; clearly I am batting for the other side now. I must say a holiday on the South Downs in the English sunshine does sound very appealing, but that could be thanks to the Guinness from Bracknell Sports Centre. Don't rule me out yet, but a reminder would be appreciated.



George, all is not lost.

George, so sorry to hear about your recent senior moment (or moments .....i wasn't going to mention about you booking two races on the same day).But i believe everything happens for a reason, maybe you weren't meant to run a boring old road marathon maybe you should be thinking of a lovely trail marathon, say the beautiful South Downs Marathon where you could join myself and possibly a few other BFR'S (hopefully) for a lovely jaunt in the country. Be a shame for all that training to go to waste. BTW I think it is us who should be buying you a pint to help you forget.................but forgetting was the root of this problem............  maybe not such a good idea!


george's picture

Winnie the Pooh

Gary, thanks. I wish I had the courage to run in Winnie the Pooh pyjamas. Smiling

John, nice to know that the organisers of the marathon recognised your determination, and were able to accomodate you.



Gazgib's picture

Runners Incompetance

George don't let it worry you. I turned up at the Elmbridge 10k in odd trainers, but luckily 1 left and 1 right. But that is topped by the guy who organises the tours I go on, who last year went all the way to Luxembourg to do the Marathon without ANY trainers. Luckily a fellow runner had a spare pair. But he topped that in India where you have to split your baggage into 2 bags, one you leave at the bottom of the mountain at base camp with all your smart going out gear and the other that gets taken up the mountain by Yak/Porter for you to run in all week. This led to some confusion and he ended up with the wrong bag up the mountain and had to do the whole weeks race in his wife's Winnie the Poo pyjamas.

Hopefully you don't feel quite so silly now George, but I will still give you a sympathetic pat on the back.

And now for the good news...

Back in 2000 I had to defer my London Marathon place as I underwent heart surgery.  The next year no form appeared for me to re-enter, so I eventually contacted the organisers after a 'reasonable' delay (it was damned difficult to get hold of them too, I seem to remember) and explained my predicament.  I told them why I had to defer from the previous year, and also told them I was running for British Heart Foundation on my own number.  They said that they did have a record of my deferral and the entries had closed, but given the circumstances they allowed me to enter late anyway.

So a heart does beat within the organising machine after all.

george's picture

Marathon place

Thanks Joanna. Sorry to hear that you went through a similar thing. That really does not sound fair. But thanks for telling me about Tim's trousers. Smiling




This will definitely make you feel better. Tim has just reminded me that he forgot to take his trousers to work.

He goes to the gym at work in the mornings and forgot his trousers. His colleagues had a field day.....

You poor thing George. I can

You poor thing George. I can sympathise however as I did a vaguely similar thing. I am not quite sure why I am admitting to this!

Due to a good run at Stratford Marathon back in 2009 I had a good for age place for London. I sent off for the form, carefully photocopied my results, filled out the form and sent it off.

I didn't hear anything so eventually called them up to be informed that they had received my form etc but that I had failed to put my address on the back of it and that it was now too late!

Hopefully this might make you feel a bit better and remember you now have a great base to work from without the trauma of a marathon...