Making it through a marathon is a test of endurance and grit for any runner, but for Steve Quayle, a firefighter from the Isle of Man, last weekend’s London Marathon was an especially difficult challenge. He stepped on a water bottle on the course at mile eight, injuring his foot, calf, and hip. But he powered through the next 18 miles and finished in under four hours (which, for reference, is averaging about 9:00-minute miles), according to CNN. He later discovered he’d actually broken his foot.
“I expected there to be pain along the way and carried on, thinking I would run it off,” Quayle told CNN. “The pain got continually worse however, and by mile 16 I was really struggling and stopped at a physio tent for assistance.”
Despite the intense pain, Quayle kept at it. He was running to raise money for Hospice Isle of Man, and he’s also an ambassador for Positive Bones, a charity that works to purchase prosthetics for amputees. Remembering the people he was running for helped him push through to the finish line.
“Josie Bridges is the founder of Positive Bones and she’s lost a leg. She’s a huge inspiration for me,” Quayle told CNN. “At 22 miles a large part of me wanted to stop but I just thought, I feel like I’m on one leg here but Josie is actually one leg and she’d just power on; so I tried to power on.”
Crossing the finish line was obviously a huge relief.
“I was simply thinking, ‘Don’t cry in front of a TV camera—and where’s the nearest treatment tent?‘” he said. “I was also incredibly surprised that I’d managed to complete the marathon in 3:57:33.”
Once he arrived home, his sister rushed him to the hospital to get his foot examined. It was there Quayle learned the full extent of the injuries he’d sustained: a sprained hip, a torn calf muscle, and a broken bone in his foot. Nevertheless, he said his problems were small compared to what others are dealing with.
“The way I looked at it was, I’m here representing and raising funds for some wonderful causes who help people dealing with much tougher situations than myself for much longer than four hours,” he said. “The least I can do is put every last ounce of effort into it for them.”