19th November 2017


I am really struggling to clearly express my emotions.  This past weekend was an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life.  I am so happy that I was able to share this experience with my mum and Dad who was incredibly supportive and proud the entire time,

Hopefully you have previously read my blog (Here) or seen on my Youtube video (Here) over the past year I have been training to run the NY City marathon with Paco Rabanne Parfumes Run Invictus team.

Unfortunately from August my training had not been going to plan, whilst training I started to experience pain in my lower legs.  On visiting a sports chiropractor he informed me that I had a severe case of ‘shin splints’ and that I had to take it easy with my training,  which isn’t the best when I’m trying to build myself up to run 26.2 miles.

If we can fast forwarding on 3 months, the Marathon weekend starts here.

Friday 3rd November seemed to have come around so quickly, as I stepped on the plane with my parents my nerves really started to kick in as I started to realise what I had actually signed up for.

The Run Invictus team was reunited at our first evening dinner on Friday night. I really started to realise how tough this experience was going to be as everyone seemed to have done so much more training and mine hadn’t even got off the ground (due to my injuries)

Paco Rabanne really looked after us with a Saturday morning yoga session with Nick Youngquest and a lunchtime healthy cooking session with Chef James Briscione to help build us up for Sunday’s big day.

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After a early night on Saturday, the day finally arrived, we had to be downstairs bright and early (5:45am) ready for our transport to drive us to the start of the marathon, which was located on Staten Island bridge.  That drive seemed to go on for ages (made me need a nervous poop how far out it was ha-ha) .

Being first time runners we were placed in wave 4 of 4 with a set off time of 11am, which meant a lot of waiting around and initially didn’t help with the nerves.   During this time the team stretched and took in the atmosphere together building each other up for this life changing experience.

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The starting area gave me chills, but also filled me up with so much excitement, seeing all the people clapping, screaming and encouraging each other, it really did inspire me and gave me such a proud feeling, making me realise how lucky I was be to a part of this incredible day. Music was playing, announcements were made, and the sheer magnitude of it all struck me. I had been dreaming of standing on that bridge at that moment for months and soaked in every detail.

Bang, it’s go time,  I nearly did something that most people make the big mistake of doing, starting off too quickly.  Thanks to Sergio a fellow run Invictus squad member,  He pulled me back and reminded me to take it easy and pace myself and not let the excitement take over.

The first 10 miles were really emotional with lots of support from the crowds who had come to support everyone on the day, lots of high fives, candy and tissues which was to help us look good for our marathon pictures (which clearly I didn’t).    Even though it was getting tough, they really made us laugh with signs saying “You run better than our government”, “If Trump can run you can run and the funniest one ”  Smile if you need a wee, frown if you need a poo”  trust me I saw a lot of people frowning!!

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Mile 11 there they were, my parents and the Paco Rabanne Parfumes Run Invictus PR team, cheering and supporting me with their signs in support of our charity “Team for Kids” It was great seeing my mum running into the pack to give me a hug, which I nearly knocked her over,   A few spectators yelled “Go Franco!” to me and made me smile. (this was due to my top with Carl I was given didn’t fit so I had to use a spare one with Franco on the back)

Every borough, while visually different, had the same incredible enthusiasm that shook me to my core in the best way.

Mile 13 then my troubles started, it was my first stop at the medical tent,  I was advised to stop running due to damage to a hip muscle, I must admit I was in agony.  I was so upset, texting my parents as I didn’t want to give up but I was in so much pain and still had 13.2 miles to go and I didn’t know how I was going to carry on.

After having a little cry and word to myself, I looked around and was really inspired by different people with disabilities and they were still going.  Man up I thought if they can do it then I can limp my way to the end as I wasn’t leaving without that gold medal.

To add to my bad hip, something else made the day 10 time worst, due to the rain my earphones got damaged and stopped working. 13.2 miles to go and no music to get me through, could this day get any worst.

After seeing my parents at Mile 18 they advised me that they were proud of me no matter what and they had a car waiting for me if I needed to stop.  So many thoughts went through my head of how hard this really was but honestly I just couldn’t give up.  I kissed my mum and Dad and said I’ll see you at the finish line (iv got this).

Mile 26 (trust me the previous 8 miles have been tough) 6 hours and 2 visits to the medical tent, I realised I only had 0.2 miles to go and it dawned on me, “ I’m going to do this” (although that 0.2 seemed to take a life time to finish).

I did it!!!  I told people that I would crawl over the finish line if I had to and that is kind of what I did.  That feeling when I crossed the finishing line was amazing, it was so emotional all the feeling of pride that was going through my head, I literally gave it my all.

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it’s the best feeling in the world when you achieve something that you really never thought you could do.   This marathon has taught me that you should never give up, when you think you’ve nothing left in the tank, there always that next 13.2 miles left.

I really would like to thank Paco Rabanne Parfumes RunInvictus team for giving me this life changing experience, that I will never ever forget and for introducing me to 6 new friends (NickSergio, Nicolas, Marvin Elbio and Mathieu)  who supported, encouraged and who believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.  They really are friends for life.






  1. Ivan Goranov says:

    Wow man, sounds so hard, but so cool! Keep doing what you do. Motivate others like you motivate me.
    ig: ivangoranov

  2. Kieron Bermingham says:

    Brilliant read. I’m not sure if I could do something like that. Well done mate


  3. Mike says:

    Awesome story Carl! @deinlieblingsmuch

  4. Douglas says:

    Great positive post Carl ❤️ Much love to you for sharing @dougd88gta

  5. Donnell says:

    Great story bro. Your determination, drive and willingness to finish the race is an inspiration to so many people. Congratulations on your accomplishment!


  6. Mirko Skala Kozakov says:

    Wow! What a post Carl.. This is why I follow you, you are great example for young people outthere. I loved reading step by step your journey with your onest words how you felt. And that part with your parents literally make me cry…
    Congrats Carl! I wish you more achievements in future like this!

  7. Nathan Tito says:

    Congrats man I’ve always wanted to do this, hopefully one day I will

  8. William Maynes says:

    Great story. I’m running my first half-marathon in 7 weeks. It’s my first major fitness goall after committing to getting healthy in 2017. Down 50 pounds and anxiously excited about the race. Thanks for the inspiration!!


  9. Paul Sparkes says:

    Wow – amazing, inspiring story! Thanks for sharing your experience. I think it’s such a lesson in life about continuing to push forward, even when we don’t think it’s possible

    We’re capable of so much more than we think, and your story illustrates someone going beyond their self limitations to achieve a goal

    Thanks again for sharing!

    IG: paulsparkes

  10. Dylan says:

    Hey carl
    How amazing is it to experience this with tayt much of support from your friends and family. It’s fantastic to read about all your adventures (kinda jealous though xx)

  11. Mac says:

    Well done buddy. I done few of those and had a similar injury on my first one ever. Great work and again well done. Love your story. inst: maciejp_94

  12. Jack says:

    Great story and great achievement, never give up


  13. Anonymous says:

    Amazing story!! Well do your inspiring me to do one now!! @ryansteedmanhair

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