Sooooo I can officially say I am a MARATHONER!!! It definitely didn’t go the way that I wanted (as you will find out) but I did it!
After months of training in every weather condition you could think of, enduring runs ranging from early early morning to late at night the big day finally arrived. I left Amy’s aunties house around 7am to make the journey to the start line in Greenwich, and during the whole journey my stomach was full of butterflies and I couldn’t stop thinking what if I don’t make it.
We arrived at Greenwich park at about 8.30am and I said my goodbyes to Amy and her mum and headed into the red start area. It was just absolutely mind-blowing and amazing to see the pure amount of people around you, all wearing their individual charity bibs and costumes (who can say they ran a marathon alongside amongst others; a Rhino, Mr Bump and Robocop).
I dropped my bag off at the Arctic lorry with my race number allocated and slowly headed to my pen, it was at this point around 9.45 reality was starting to kick in. The pen started to get really really full and finally it was here I was about to start. Over the tanoy at 9.59 you had the 1 minute countdown and the finally 5,4,3,2,1…….starter goes and I did not move a muscle it took a further 33 minutes to actually cross the start line.
Once I started immediately just from the crowds at the half mile point I knew this was going to be a race to remember, the first 5 miles were just pure bliss I managed after mile 3 to get into a really good rhythm, my body was feeling good passed mile 6 but then at 7 disaster struck, I got what I think was shin splints in my right leg ouuuuchhhh! It was a pain I had never experienced before, but I was determined that I could “run” it off.
I managed to get to Tower bridge (just before the half way mark) and the crowds were just amazing at helping to keep my mind off the pain, I also knew that Amy was going to be quite close to mile 14 and that it would help seeing her and some other family/friends. I finally got passed where Amy was (she was on the other side of the road). Seeing her and the rest of the cheer squad was just what I needed. I powered on up-to mile 16 when the pain was just all-consuming, I pulled up and really had to think hard could I do this? My dream of a 5.15-5.30 race was over but I knew I just had to finish.
The next 6 miles were probably the hardest I have ever run since I started, I was in agony, determined not to pull out but I also wanted to do well, the crowds were the only thing that go me through these, they were just amazing, pure strangers feeling like family and also the amazing support of my chosen charity Children with Cancer at their cheer stations. those guys were just so encouraging! At mile 22 I managed saw Amy and the family again and got a hug and the encouragement that I needed to finish. I carried on and at around mile 24 I saw a guy really struggling so I went over to run with him, his name was Paul and it was great just to encourage each other to get ourselves to the finish.
Then it came, 600 meters to go…. 325 meters to go… turning that corner down the mall and the finish was finally there! I looked at Paul and he looked at me and we both said ‘sprint finish’? and we ran (to others it would have looked like a power walk) ourselves to the finish line. I couldn’t believe it! I actually completed 26.2 miles – me – little old me!
A lovely lady called Beth was stood in-front of me with that all important medal, she put it around my neck and I just had the biggest smile on my face. I went and got my kit bag and headed to find Amy at the Children with Cancer meet point. As I entered the meeting zone there was a group of volunteers from the charity ready to congratulate me and point me in the right direction. When I got there Amy was there waiting with a huge smile on her face, she came over and congratulated me and the guys from the charity got me a chair and some food and drink to have.
Not only did I manage to run my the bucket list marathon and complete it but I also managed to raise a lot of money for an Children with Cancer UK, so thank you so much if you sponsored me and for all the kind words of encouragement. You guys kept me going when times got tough.
Will I do another marathon?? I think I’ll let my legs recover a bit before I make that decision. Despite it not going to plan, it was a great day, with an amazing atmosphere and I’m so glad I got to experience that!