I realised I never wrote a report of my day at this year’s London Marathon. So here is a retrospective.
The two questions I am asked most often are “Was it fun?” and “Would you do it again?” to which the answers are a resounding ‘yes’ and a definite ‘no.’
The marathon was the most fun I have had with 5.5 hours running involved. And I don’t want to spoil those memories with a horrid run in future years.
From the start to the finish it was like one big party, I encountered nothing but smiles and friendliness. A definite contrast from a normal busy day in the City. I was very fortunate to be able to stay at a friend’s house just a 20-minute walk from the start; whilst others were schlepping across London I was still in bed.
TV coverage of the start shows that I was in the last 500 or so runners to actually start the race. But no matter. I am not an elite athlete and even though Paula Radcliffe wasn’t taking part, I wasn’t exactly expecting to win it. Barring a disastrous injury, I knew I would make the distance even if I was on my hands and knees. And as I have no intention of running a marathon ever again, my time was almost irrelevant. In fact when people asked me what time I thought I’d finish in, I said I was hoping for ‘Sunday.’
So there you are – I was the most relaxed I have been before any race I’ve done. Under no pressure other than to finish, on a sunny day with a great crowd of people. How could I not have fun?
One of the most useful aspects was the service from Adidas that sent a text message when I had started, hit halfway, and finished, to those who were following me. So people could check my progress and my parents knew I had crossed the line a long time before I was able to fish my phone out and let them know I was lurking by the ‘B’ as arranged. I later discovered that many people had used the website to track my progress around the course. I felt so supported.
My most memorable moments were:
- Being sprinkled with holy water at about the 3 mile mark
- Being part of a huge group of runners doing the YMCA as we passed a pub playing that song
- The lovely St John Ambulance people dishing out globs of Vaseline; and the lovely man who helped me remove my ring after about 18 miles
- The atmosphere on Tower Bridge: awesome doesn’t come close to describing it, the hairs on the back of my neck prickled and I felt like I had been carried over the bridge.
- Seeing the St Helena Hospice team shortly afterwards and getting cheered on from them
- Managing to meet my parents and friend Jan at almost exactly the places we had picked and at almost exactly the right time …
- … and seeing Het, who had come along to the Embankment on the chance she’s spot me
- Walking the last few miles and overtaking people still running
- Fighting back tears during that last ‘sprint’ down the Mall
Will see if I can retrieve the 5k split times and post them here. There are a few photos kicking about too.