We headed to the London Marathon Expo on Saturday, this place is a runners delight, stall after stall of running gear and gadgets. Had fun with all the interactive stuff, photos and time predictions, which we weren’t so far off.
So race preparations as always never go quite as planned. After problems with our train tickets in Newcastle we nearly missed the train and were woken at 3.22am with a fire alarm at the hotel we were staying at.
Beet-it in hand we were all set on Sunday morning for the big race. We had an easy 25-minute walk to the blue start from our hotel in Greenwich so pretty stress free.
So race tactics were to try and stick with the 3.45 pack. But after about 5 miles we started to realise this was really pacing us for sub 3.40 as we were going to be running further than the marathon distance.
At mile 10 I knew I’d gone too quick, we passed the half marathon point at 1.51 so on track for a 3.42. At this point I let the pacing pack go and thought I’d just hold out as long as possible.
John was brilliant keeping me going and especially when he let me know we passed the Olympic medalist Iwan Thomas at mile 19. We eventually spotted Big Ben and knew we were getting close to that elusive finish line.
I clocked 3.46 at 26.2 miles which was a seven minute PB on Chester and at this point I switched the Garmin off and wondered where the finish was… eventually we came to the 800 metres marker where my body somehow got me to the finish line.
Honestly that last half-mile was HARD. I crossed the line hand-in-hand with John Berry, got to the red carpet and had a mini faint. That’s when I knew I’d given that race everything – thankfully I wasn’t another case for the St. John’s ambulance but it really shows how hard a marathon is.
A brilliant day and there’s been some brilliant people we’ve met and shared our marathon stories with. But had to laugh on the train on the way back to Greenwich where we were all chatting away to the people on the carriage and sharing stories and laughing at all us runners trying to sit down.
The atmosphere and excellent organisation over the whole weekend has been amazing which is what makes this race special. So finally got back to the hotel after quite a few celebratory drinks of the red stuff – this time not Beet It. We went to our room and my words to John were ‘I don’t know if I can put my body through this again’, within half-an-hour I was talking of qualifying times for Boston and another PB at Yorkshire marathon in October!