Monday, 31 December 2012

2012- You Beauty

I have been looking forward to 2012 for a long time. 
Since the 6th July 2005 to be precise. 

I was sitting in the kitchen of a church in Belfast on a summer mission team. It was around midday and my team was having lunch. I was sitting beside a girl named Rebecca and across the table from Ben and David. I still remember I was eating a hot dog and the bread was piled on floral fine bone china, the type that you encounter at grandparents houses and country church fete’s. 
I had been waiting on my mum to text me to let me know where the 2012 Olympics would be held. I knew London was in the running and although I didn’t think we had a chance (it was our first ever bid, this was the 3rd for Paris) I was hoping it would be in Europe so I might be able to go to something.
I screamed and danced up and down on the spot when my mum told me that London had won the bid. I can’t tell you how many times in those years of waiting that I watched the footage of the bid team reccieving the news and the crowds in Trafalgar square celebrating with wide eyed shock and unquenchable enthusiasm. Everyone knows what happened the day after on 7/7 on the transport network, but for me 2012 showed the triumph of the human spirit. What can be achieved when people are united under a common goal or banner. This summer was glorious, but it was only a small part of this year, which for me, was greater than many of the previous put together.

Anyone that knows me will know I love the olympics, so 2012 was always going to be an exciting one for me, but I decided that because it was a home olympics, something I won’t see again in my lifetime, I should make the year memorable, do something amazing, an olympic challenge. I read Bear Grylls book ‘facing up’ which documents his ascent of Everest and I decided that I was going to do something amazing this year.
I decided on a Marathon because it seemed insane enough for me take on, but simple enough to accomplish.

In January I had the opportunity to be on Desert Island Disc’s after submitting a track and my story. 30 minutes in Uncle Hugo’s studio in Broadcasting House and my story was told. You can listen to the programme here:

In February I turned 24 and started a relationship with a friend who had been sitting across the table from me that afternoon in Belfast, when I began to get excited for 2012. It seems strange to me that after so many years of waiting 2012 was finally here and two months in it was already better than I could ever have hoped for. We stayed together until the middle of June when we mutually went our separate ways, but those 4 months were some of the most fulfilling I have had.

March and April were filled with much running, an average of 60 miles a week and renewed writing efforts. They were also filled with Northern Ireland being obsessed by the Titanic- in Belfast you could not get away from it (you’d almost forgotten that part hadn’t you!) I went to the Titanic Light show in the slipways and it was one of the nicest things i’d seen done in Belfast, by Belfast, for Belfast.

May brought the Marathon and after 6 months of training (something I never thought i’d have the will power to do) I completed the Belfast Marathon in 5:54:54 and raised over £800 for my two charities.

June was the wind down from school and wind up to the busiest summer of my life. July and August saw me in London twice, walking in the Swiss Alps, singing in the Royal Albert Hall, watching Jess Ennis do her 100m Hurdles and High Jump in the Olympic Stadium, watching the gymnastics, sneaking into the athletes area and meeting some of my favourite gymnasts, holding Kayla Harrison’s Olympic Gold medal, watching live olympic basketball and generally enjoying the Olympic spirit and atmosphere in London. I also went to Seville and had an amazing time in the sun with beautiful food and 5 bottles of beer for three Euro!

The autumn felt really slow after the buzz of the past two months and much theatre was seen, many books read and many gigs attended.
November and December brought all kinds of fun and more live sport, including a trip to Glasgow to watch the world's best compete!

I have loved this year and this blog post is more of a personal reminder for me of how blessed I am to be able to do all the things I love and have the resources to go to the things I want to go to. I have an amazing set of friends who put up with a full 12 months of olympic mania from me, and for that I will be forever in their debt... until Rio and they have to do it all over again!!

I wish this was more concise and coherent, but maybe 2013 will see me hone my writing skills... Everest this year is to write a novel!

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