Well Sunday was an epic day. We headed off early so we could get a good spot along Embankment, with a packed lunch each and a backpack full of jelly babies.
The weather was amazing as we took position under a shady tree and got ready to see the Elite runners go past.
Eagerly awaiting Mo Farah’s appearance we were pleased we had arrived early enough to see the elite women come through first.
I deliberately didn’t take a photo when Mo came past because I wanted to watch him go. He ran right along the barrier we were standing at and it’s amazing how fast and powerful he was even coming up to the 24 mile marker.
And then the rest of the masses started to slowly filter through. Firstly the young athletic Oxford and Cambridge types, who are obviously members of running clubs at their Colleges, and then more and more people appeared. It was amazing to see so many different types of people running together. At around 1pm we got the jelly babies out as we started to see walkers. They were welcomed by a lot of runners and it really made our experience more special as we were able to chat to some of the runners as they stopped for a sugar hit.
I hadn’t noticed the woman waving at my camera in the photo above until I uploaded the pictures today! Also note that by this point very few people were actually running!
A highlight for me was when two middle-aged Chinese lady runners all dressed in pink stopped in front of us and I took a photo for them amongst the rest of the runners. They were so happy and proclaimed to me ‘we are sisters’ – they were having an amazing time! Of course there were the fancy dressed people, who I am in awe of since the weather was so warm.
Gary and I were following a couple of people all day on the Virgin Marathon website. We missed Gary’s friend and he must have run straight past us. I was following Mary from A Healthier Moo and managed to see her but she was well in The Zone, headphones in, and right across the road from me so couldn’t hear me shouting. She was looking so strong by this point, amazingly since most people were walking. She was ploughing through the walkers!
There were a few sad sights too though. One lady who pushed way too hard that she turned up at mile 24 really early on and was deliriously talking out load about just needing to sit down. White as a sheet she stumbled onto the curb and then lay down. A steward tried to lift her up and towards an aid station but as the runner couldn’t hold her own weight they had to get her stretchered off. Another young lady walked along the barriers, her headphones in hand, telling anyone who would listen “it’s so hard!” as she fought back the tears. As she walked towards me I shouted her name and told her to ‘come on’ and ‘you can do this, you’re nearly there!’ and as she passed me she started running again. A little further on another runner started to encourage her on. It’s a tough thing to do and no matter how prepared you are, you can fluff it on the day by not listening to your training or your body. The atmosphere and excitement can make your mind go to mush, and after 24 miles I can’t see how anyone could think straight.
Despite it looking so hard, the day was so inspiring, and on April 22nd I’m going to be amongst the virtual crowds putting my name into the ballot for next year.
Congratulations to all those amazing people who trained so hard and completed the London Marathon on Sunday. It’s an event worthy of any bucket list and now you can give it a big old tick!