I am officially a marathon runner!
Last weekend, Sunday 28th April 2019, I actually ran and completed the London Marathon. I still can’t quite believe it!
Although it was only last weekend it seems like a lifetime ago and I’ve discovered that the marathon blues do exist!
My training went pretty well. There were a few hiccups along the way, piriformis syndrome, a twisted ankle and a pretty nasty blister, but all in all I’d have to say that my training went well.
I ran 20 miles in 3 hours and 45 minutes which I was pretty pleased with and this is the time I had in mind to get to the 20 mile point at the London Marathon. If I could replicate this I knew that I’d finish the marathon in around five hours.
Most people do say not to even think about a time when it comes to the London Marathon. It’s not a course for PB’s due to the sheer amount of people taking part, but for all of that, it’s hard not to have a time in mind.
I’ll write a separate post about the London Marathon Running Show and our time in London before the marathon, but in this post I wanted to focus on the big day itself.
The night before the marathon I actually slept pretty well! I woke up around 6am in our hotel room and having laid everything out the night before there really wasn’t much left for me to do other than get dressed and have breakfast.
I kissed my husband and children goodbye. They wished me luck and then I headed down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.
After breakfast I waited in the hotel reception to meet a lady who was also running so we could travel to the start line together. I sent her a message to say I was in reception and she replied to say she was too but couldn’t see me anywhere. It turned out we weren’t even staying in the same hotel! I have no idea how that happened!
After a slight panic on my part about how I would get to the start, I finally ventured out of the hotel and decided to follow some other runners and ask if I could tag along with them to the start line! Thankfully everyone was really friendly and more than happy for me to tag along!
Riding the underground on London Marathon day in London is in itself a pretty awesome experience!
The trains are packed full of runners. Some are seasoned marathon runners who are relaxed, and others, like me, were first timers.
I was stood by three amazing women on the underground who had all run numerous marathons before. Listening to them all talking about their experiences made me question whether or not I could actually run a marathon. I mean these women looked the part. They were toned, athletic and full of confidence. Then there was me in my Nike capri’s, charity vest and hydration pack. It’s a pretty surreal feeling, but I knew deep down that I could do it. After all I’d been training for 6 months!
Following the crowd we got off at Greenwich station and made our way through the streets like one really long queue of people.
Outside one house a lady stood with her two young daughters sat at a table who were making good luck signs to cheer the runners on.
As we approached Greenwich Park a red banner caught my eye.
All of a sudden things started to feel really real! As I made my way through the gates of Greenwich Park and up the hill to where the baggage lorries and red start was a helicopter flew loudly above my head. I wanted to take it all in. Every sight, every sound. After all this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
On either side of the hill there were a number of charities setting up big flags so that the charity runners could say hello and have a photo taken. I’d already arranged with my charity to meet at the bandstand for a team photo.
Before long I saw the Red Start area which is where I would be starting.
Each start area is made up of different zones (or pens). The red start is made up of seven different zones. Which zone you’re in depends on your predicted finish time.
As I walked into the red start area I could see row upon row of baggage trucks.
I then spotted the bandstand in Greenwich Park.
By now it was 8.30am. I hadn’t arranged to meet the other charity runners until 9.30am so I decided to have a wander, visit the toilet and then drop off my bag on the baggage truck.
In this area there was a Buxton water station and volunteers handing out bottles of Lucozade. There was also a tea and coffee tent along with a big screen which was filming the runners, the start line and had information about timings on.
I dropped by bag off and then headed over to the bandstand for a group photo with the charity I was running for, WellChild, and of course I couldn’t resist a photo with Anthony who was running in the Nessa the Nurse costume once again this year.
After one last toilet trip it was time to go to my pen and make my way to the start line. It’s actually quite amazing how many people take part in the London Marathon.
This was my view looking towards the start line and it was exactly the same looking behind me also.
The red start line was somewhat of an anti-climax compared to the start line you see on TV where the elite athletes set off from. Signs with ‘PLEASE DO NOT PEE’ were either side of the runners along with a pile of runners donated clothes to one side.
Before I knew it I’d set my GPS watch, put my music on and crossed the start line!
I started as planned with a nice, even steady pace and as I ran I kept thinking to myself that I was actually running the London Marathon, yet it didn’t seem to sink in until I saw the Cutty Sark at mile 7 and I decided to take a quick picture and selfie so that I could look back on it after!
The next landmark was the iconic Tower Bridge. Every one who has ever run the London Marathon will tell you that the highlight for them is running over Tower Bridge and I have to agree, it’s absolutely amazing.
One minute you’re running down what looks like a normal residential street, the next minute you turn the corner and BAM! Tower Bridge appears in the distance!
Running across Tower Bridge you can’t help but look up to admire it. Either side the crowds are packed together all chanting your name and cheering everyone. It really was amazing!
Just after Tower Bridge is the halfway point. So far everything was going well. I’d run past some amazing costumes such as the famous Rhinos, but sadly I didn’t spot any celebrities!
Around the 26k (16 mile) marker I started to feel slightly sick so I popped into a portaloo and was actually sick! I’ve no idea why I was sick! I’ve never once thrown up when running so why I did then I’ll never know.
As I emerged back onto the streets of London I spotted another WellChild runner and decided to walk with her for a while until my tummy settled. She was absolutely amazing and helped to keep me focused, so I want to say a very big thank you to you!
When my stomach settled I carried on at a far gentler pace than I would have liked, but my aim was to finish and no amount of vomiting was going to stop me!
As I ran up Birdcage Walk and saw the 800m to go sign I knew that my dream was almost coming to an end.
As I rounded the corner passed Buckingham Palace and onto the Mall I heard the cheers of those in the grandstand and as I scanned the faces I spotted my husband and children!
They were shouting my name and waving to me so I blew them kisses and then carried onto the finish line. Seeing my husband and children watch me complete the London Marathon is something I will never forget. Their support throughout all of my training has been exceptional and I really will never forget it.
Crossing the finish line and being handed the London Marathon medal was an experience like no other. I finished in 5 hours 55 minutes and 42 seconds. Although it was 55 minutes over my goal time, it really didn’t matter to me. I finished. I did it. I completed the London Marathon 2019 for an amazing charity called WellChild and in the process I’ve raised just over £2,000 for them!
After retrieving my bag from the baggage truck I made my way over to meet my husband and children. My husband welled up which set me off and it was at that moment that I realised the enormity of what I’d just managed to do!
I ran the London Marathon!
I’m also still accepting donations for WellChild. You can donate to my fundraising page online here.
Here are some of my favourite official photos.
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