For those of you who don’t know what the #FinishForMatt title is all about, Matt Campbell collapsed at mile 22.5 of the London Marathon and died. Almost immediately after, the #FinishForMatt hashtag sprung up and people started running the 3.7 miles that were left of his marathon. I didn’t know him. I didn’t know that he was a chef or that he had appeared on TV, on Master Chef the Professionals, not until I saw the news stories anyway. In many ways he is nobody at all to me and it took me a little while to realise that his story was pulling at my heartstrings. It’s hard to explain.
Initially #FinishForMatt seemed a little bit like a gimmick. Like something people do for effect on social media. I didn’t really want to be anywhere near that. But as the week went on and I saw more posts, mainly from people in groups I am already part of my perception of what the hashtag means began to change. Sure, for some it’s a way to get social media attention but mostly it’s the running community coming together to honour and remember Matt Campbell, a runner, one of us. It’s about running because we can, for all those who can’t. It’s about not taking running, anything, for granted and to show solidarity to all those who knew him. So over the course of the last week I began to want to do it.
Before lunch today we pulled on our running gear. I had to borrow Kath’s London Marathon T-shirt because mine is in my gym bag at work and we set off – me in the (rather snug) finisher’s t-shirt and Kath in the #OneInAMillion T-shirt. I really wanted to run the 3.7 miles without a walk break. I did. Steadily but comfortably and easily. The run was quiet and I think we were both lost in our own thoughts most of the way. The different shades of green are coming out more and more strongly, the goslings seemed a bright lime green almost, the yellow on the ducklings we saw seemed to stand out and the squirrel on a gate post we passed seemed to bow it’s head in acknowledgement of the symbolic gesture of our efforts. I guess in the end it is meaningless really but today we did finish for Matt and for our own reasons and we didn’t take the run for granted, or our ability to move along the canal bank at pace or each other because although mostly silent, the run was definitely a together sort of run, in comfortable silence with just the odd words of encouragement. It’s alway always worth remembering that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, make today count.