After months of training the weekend of the London marathon was finally here. Extremely excited to be part of such an amazing race, I decided to make a weekend of it. First stop was the running expo the day before at the Exel arena. There was huge buzz there, with thousands of people there to pick up their race number and grab photo opportunities along with any running freebies they could get their hands on. Hundreds of stands awaited with plenty of London marathon merchandise to add to the excitement of race day! I left the expo with plenty of marathon souvenirs. Next stop was to check in at my hotel and then to meet Gemma our other Strider who was also running for some extremely important carb loading.
The next morning I woke early leaving plenty of time to get to the blue start. Tube travel on the day of the marathon is free to all marathon runners, all you have to do is show your number and they let you through. We crammed on a train at London Bridge to get to the start at Blackheath. Thousands of people were making their way to the start adding to excitement and anticipation of starting. First stop was a toilet trip and then to drop your baggage on your assigned baggage lorry. It was then time to enter your pen for your start wave.
At about 10:25 I was off, with a slow walk to the start line and then a break into a jog to make a start at one of the biggest races in the world. The atmosphere was unbelievable and the cheers from the spectators completely out of this world. Throughout the whole race there isn’t one boring part, with the amazing scenery of London and all the significant landmarks you pass along the way, the time goes really quickly. Once you hit mile 3 the different start colours merge and the course begins to get a bit busier but not enough to slow you down too much. Probably the most crowded parts of the race in terms of spectators is Tower bridge. The crowds are at least 10 deep and the cheering is out of this world.
This is definitely a race where you are well looked after! There are water, Lucozade or even gel stops almost every mile, as well as portaloos.
The last 6 miles of the race takes you along Embankment and Blackfriars bridge towards Big Ben and the Mall. As any marathoner knows, this is where the race really begins and is the place where you are most likely to want to stop. The crowd won’t let you, calling your name and shouting encouragement. It is the spectators that get you through, along with the anticipation of the Mall and the fact you are going to get one of the best medals of your life. The epic moment of when you cross the finish line is something to be treasured forever. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to take part in this race.
Once over the finish line you’re given your medal and an extremely substantial goody bag with plenty of food and drinks to make you feel human again along with a pretty cool London marathon t-shirt. The stiffness quickly kicks in and first thoughts are never again but we shall see.....the ballot entry is already open for next year I might just have to enter! All the blood, sweat and tears are worth it!