“Well, finally after several delays, I finally got to run the 2021 London Marathon in ‘real life’ on the original course having completed it virtually last year. 2 years of training 5 -6 days a week eventually put to the test.
A trip to the Excel on Friday to register/drop off kit and collect my bib suddenly began to make it seem real along with an appreciation of the enormity of the event. Visited the finish area on Saturday and met numerous other nervous participants on the same mission.
Having prepared kit the night before, set out early Sunday morning to head for the start. For me, the Green Start, where the world record attempts were also gathered. These included, Colin the Caterpillar, several rhino and a glass of Guiness! Total respect to those that do this, I find it hard enough in normal kit!
Weather conditions perfect for the start, cool, overcast and a gentle breeze. Organisation was extremely slick and soon Green start wave 5 were on the way.
Cheering crowds were in evidence immediately, and continued along most of the route. Like many others, I had my name on my vest which meant complete strangers were calling my name and cheering me on.
The noise and volume of people at Cutty Sark (about 6 miles in) were phenomenal and almost overwhelming. Just down the road, disco’s in gardens, drum bands, karaoke, waving flags, and much much more.
The support for everyone be they fast or slow was phenomenal and was a great help when the going got tough. ‘C’mon Amanda gal!’ I heard time after time. In addition. numerous bowls of sweets on offer for a quick sugar fix.
Great comradery along the way with fellow runners and there reaches a point (for me at about 20 miles) where I began to realise I was going to do it. Thankfully, I managed to avoid the famous wall and before long the ‘800m to go’ sign appeared, which similarly provided a new surge of energy.
More cheers, ran across the finish line (watch showing 27.1 miles) and was immediately congratulated then wrapped in foil by a volunteer. At this the emotions kicked in too. Due to Covid, medal presentation was self-contained and after taking in the finish atmosphere made my way slowly to Westminster Tube, where I ended up with an unexpected bonus – a ride in an ambulance to St Thomas’ Hospital after collapsing on the platform.
Beds in A&E were occupied by a couple of other marathon casualties but after tests and a bag full of fluid I was discharged just before midnight. What an eventful day!
I’ve said previously that I am not a great runner, I didn’t challenge the leaders, I was slow (although I got a pb) and was beaten by Colin the Caterpillar but I did finish. People with far more athletic talent than me never attempt an event like this because they don’t think they can. If I can do it anyone can, so my advice would be, start with your local parkrun and press that ‘Enter’ button.
Thanks for reading and thanks for all your support.”