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Gloria Long dismisses the worries to finish strong at the London Marathon

After months of panic, worry and sleepless nights over injury, nutrition and lack of training, I had it in my head that I was determined to finish but resigned to the fact that it would be ugly and painful.
Race day was finally here and so far so good. I slept relatively well, I was even told by a marshal in the Blue start area that I looked way too relaxed and weirdly I felt it to. I had a plan to run/walk the marathon to keep my injury at bay and get as far as I could pain free.
I met some lovely ladies from an online running page which kept me calm, as well as some supportive words from Paul Biggs before entering the start pen.
I couldn’t get my head around the ‘Jeffing’ concept and found myself running the first 3.5 miles. It wasn’t until a slight incline and the heat pounding down on me, that I decided to start walking sections. I knew my family were at mile 9 which kept me strong and friends at mile 11 and 12. Again, in my head I hadn’t planned to physically see anyone, but was in fact able to speak to all my supporters and have photos with them. I decided that I was going to take in the atmosphere and have fun and not worry about a finish time.
Next, I knew Tower Bridge was coming up which also kept me strong. It was after this that I started to question: “What now?” I’d realised I was relatively pain free and started to question how to get through the second half. It was pretty easy though. What with the crowds cheering and the bands playing I just went with the flow and decided to walk any inclines and run when there was shade or a tunnel or to a mile/km marker. This worked for me and I again saw family at the 30km marker. I was over the moon. I had ran the furthest I ever had in my life after 16 miles due to lack of training, so everything was a bonus!
It wasn’t until I entered the tunnel before Embankment, the ‘Spirit if London’ graphics and marathon music made me realise I had got this and I was going to finish strong!
The rest is history, a great run through the crowds round to Westminster where more friends greeted me and sent me on my way.
I saved my legs for The Mall and when seeing fellow SJ runner, Jacqueline Hudson, I ran over shouting “I’ve done it!” Her hug was as amazing as crossing the finishing line with my arms raised high. I’d done it and it was so much better than I’d ever dreamed of.
Gloria finisher
I loved running, walking and dancing my way around VLM.

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