So 2018 marked my 10th outing at the London Marathon, my first having been in 2007 (which incidentally had been the hottest London Marathon on record until yesterday!) After the crushing disappointment of missing out on Brighton the previous week with a tummy bug, I was just pleased to get to the start. Training has gone well this year, with my focus on trying to bring back down the times of my shorter distances, more than the marathon itself, but I was hopeful enough that I would be able to get round London in my usual mid 3.20 something!
After the misery of winter training, months of running in more layers than a Russian doll, multiple instances of being locked out the house with my fingers being too frozen to open the door and the indignity of having to ask others to undo my shoelaces due to being unable to thaw my hands…. the warm weather was welcome for me and I spent the week praying that the promised heatwave would be delivered! (in spite of the forecast I still had some gloves and an extra jumper in my bag just in case it turned chilly!)
My race preparation largely consists of ensuring my nails match my vest, and packing a large peanut butter and jam butty for the coach ride. Traditionally I always run London in brand new shoes, and so with these things sorted I was ready for the off.
Race day didn’t disappoint, getting on the coach under bright blue skies, we headed off for the start. I took my usual place on the green start with fellow good for agers Lucy, Alison and Sarah. The time passed quickly and soon we were off! The atmosphere was one of the best yet, and the first few miles sailed by, I was keen to take in all the crowds and the music, not be so focussed and heads down that I missed out on the sights. My favourite part of the route has always been Tower Bridge and this year was no different, with the Cutty Sark and the section through Canary Wharf are also big highlights.
I’m always fascinated and in awe of the fancy dress runners and this year I was surrounded by the usual eclectic mix, Darth Vader…spurred on by cheers wishing the force be with him, to a potential record breaking carrot! It was great to see Fiona and Paula on route, and I’m sorry I managed to miss everyone else though I did hear my name being shouted!
Powered through by my favourite Gu gels and the thought of post race curry and wine I felt good until around mile 23 when energy levels started to sap but a quick glug of Lucozade gave me a kick and the home straight was soon in sight. Buoyed on by the roar of the crowds against the fantastic backdrop of the river and the Mall, I made headway for the Sandhurst Joggers team at the finish and it was brilliant to be greeted by so many friendly faces doing a fantastic job, as I stopped my watch bang on the vague target of the mid 3.20s!
The finish was buzzing with chatter and it was great exchanging stories with friends and strangers alike whilst making the most of a sunbathing opportunity!
Hopefully I’ll be back next year…if for no other reason than to tackle the supporters waving the disappointingly untrue banner promising naked men bearing gin at the finish…..