I am a marathon runner! Last Sunday I set off with 35,000 other mentalists and ran 26 miles. And I finished! And, 7 days later. I’m still buzzing with the excitement and aching with pain.
The weather on race day was glorious, in fact it was so nice that it made things very hard from the start as I’d had no experience of running in sunshine, let alone heat.
As usual, nerves meant I was visiting the toilet every 5 mins whilst we waited for the 10am start and when we formed up in the pens I was desperate to go yet again. The queues at the first toilets on the course were long so I held on until I spotted toilets at 3 miles. After that I had started sweating enough that toilet stops were no longer an issue.
The sheer amount of people lining the route was incredible, Cutty Sark was rammed as was the approach to Tower Bridge. After crossing the Thames it was especially hard to be running adjacent to those who had done Docklands and were in the last few miles whereas I still had 13miles left. At Mile 14 I could wave to my family, supporting from the National Autistic Society cheer point on the other side of the road. I’d get to see them again in 7 miles which spurred me on.
Docklands was the low point. Not due to a lack of support, the crowds were out on force here too, but pain was setting in and being unfamiliar with the area and the seemingly never ending switch backs of the course made it feel like it went on forever.
After what seemed like an age I made it back to the cheer point and stopped briefly to see my family and get some welcome encouragement before the last push for the finish. The last few miles were a blur of pain, each mile seemed to be longer than the last and Big Ben didn’t seem to be getting any closer! Finally I tuned the corner into Parliament Square and Birdcage Walk and the first signs saying ‘800m to go’ came into view.
A last minute spurt, I won’t say it was energy as that had long since gone, perhaps adrenaline, gave me a little burst as I rounded the birthday cake in front of Buckingham Palace and then it was over the finish line with a huge sense of relief and achievement. I just about managed to hobble to the meeting point and then on to the reception and a very welcome leg massage.
The ballot opened today for the 2014 London Marathon. I haven’t entered!