Ok, so 4 months ago I did something rather epic but I forgot to tell you all about it! I had teased you with tales of my training, posted about the miles ran and races completed in preparation for the big one but left you hanging when it came down to the big day!
The fact of the matter is I tried several times to write a report for the London Marathon but every time I logged on to social media or read an article it all felt very…samey, like I had already read the words I was trying to write. I guess it is kind of inevitable that with so many running the marathon there were going to be loads of blogs, Facebook posts, vlogs, tweets etc. and that our experiences were going to be broadly similar but the fact I couldn’t find something more original to write bugged me and I let time slip by more and more.
So…here is my long, completely original unoriginal report of my first Virgin Money London Marathon!
My marathon weekend started on the Thursday when a friend and I travelled down by train to that there London. We had decided to make a bit of a weekend of it (sober obviously). On the Thursday night we stayed in an Easy Hotel, an experience never to be repeated! Thankfully on the Friday we transferred to a much nicer hotel in Kensington!
After hearing horror stories of massive queues and long waits at the marathon expo we decided to make our way there on Friday afternoon and I am so glad we did. The only queuing we did was to get off the platform as they only had one oyster station to tap out on the only station serving the ExCel centre that weekend….great planning! Once inside the ExCel centre we walked, seemingly for miles, to get to the exhibition hall. We spotted the cubicle I needed and walked straight up to it, collected my number and moved along to collect the timing chip for the big day. The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering round the expo trying not to buy too much before heading up west to take in a show I have been wanting to see for years (The Book of Mormon….hilariously funny if a bit close to the knuckle at times!).
Saturday was supposed to be a restful day however we ended going up to the Natural History Museum for the morning then I headed out to see my dad who had travelled down to my Aunt’s house so he could come and see me. There was a bit of a problem getting my charity vests to me ahead of the race so super-dad came to the rescue and collected them for me.
So then…race day! I was dreading getting to the start but truth be told there was nothing to worry about. The trains laid on were on time and we didn’t have to wait at all, we even managed to get seats! It is amazing that out of so many thousands of runners I managed to see at least 10 people I knew who were running it, plus all of the wonderful people who had come down to support us all.
I get to the start way too early and start to look for loos. All I could find were female urinals and there was no way I was going there! I head to my pen and wait nervously to start. The klaxon goes and we meander down to the start and hear the frantic ‘beep, beep beep’ of the timing mats as we all cross over. Just as I turn the corner for the start I see the banks of normal portaloos and immediately regret my decision not to investigate further earlier! As a result, within the first mile I need to make a pit stop but I am not the only one which was oddly reassuring! At this point I lose 2 of the Pershore Plum Plodders I was running with as they carried on with their run
As I come out and re-join the race I am very much a straggler, glimpses of one or two people ahead of me and my heart sinks….I have been a straggler in pretty much every race but the thought of being one for 26 miles is disheartening. Luckily, after a fewmiles a great swathe of people come down a hill from my left and I am among people again!
(Cliché alert!) the atmosphere along the route is AMAZING!! There is no other way to put it! People shouting out support at complete strangers, never knowing how important it is to them!
I had worn a Donald the duck hat so that people could spot me easily…it was hot, but it worked! I didn’t see anyone (although they saw me!) until mile 14 when I spied my dad who had come along with his wife, his sister and her husband. Just as I slowed (hah!) to say hi to them I felt someone poke me in the back of my calf. I turned round to see who it was but obviously it was no one (who would poke someone in the calf??) and that is when the cramp started to threaten!
After a quick hi my dad pushed me on my way. It wasn’t long until I saw the friend who had come down with me and a gang from parkrun, I stopped for essential jelly babies of course!
By this time I was walking more than running as the calf kept twinging. I got talking to a guy who had pulled something at mile 6 but was determined to keep going! As we chatted people were shouting out my name (i was so glad i bought some stick on letters as the last minute!), suddenly I become aware of someone really shouting my name….repeatedly….getting slightly more annoyed each time. Looking over I see my sister following me along the street trying to get my attention! Another pit stop to chat to her and wait for my mum to catch up and they walked along with me for a bit which was nice.
London is without doubt one of the most iconic marathons, passing some fantastic landmarks. When you see it on TV you cannot helped but be
Throughout the race I was passed by all manner of people, most notably a wookie who was running a crazy amount of marathons for charity, 6 Rhinos, and a giant purple nurse. As I was power walking to the end, willing my legs to break into a run, I heard someone behind me shout ‘come on Olaf!’ and I just thought uh-uh! No way! I am not letting another fancy dress costume beat me! I turned to the ladies that had joined me in power walking and said ‘we are not letting a giant snowman beat us – let’s go!’ and so we ran across the line with our hands held high!
I was met at the end by my family and friends, my dad greeting me with pop and food which was very welcome! It is without a doubt one of the most challenging thing I have ever done but you know what….I kind of want to do it again!