London, my first world major. This race was about running London and enjoying the experience. After running Brighton Marathon the weekend before, I wasn’t expecting any great time. The day was perfect weather wise. Black ribbon was tied to my vest in memory of those killed or injured at the Boston marathon. I made the journey upto London with friends Maureen "MO" Virtue, Joshua Brockwell, Ross Glancy and Laura Brockwell. Only Mo, Josh and Myself we were running. Laura and Ross were supporting Josh on his first marathon. I was amazed to see so many VLM runners at Farnborough Main Station at 6.30 on a sunday morning! Getting the train into Waterloo was uneventful. Most of the 45 minute journey was spent giving Josh final tips. Once at Waterloo, the throng of marathon runners was unreal! All heading in the same direction, the platform that we would find our train to Blackheath. The train was rammed, so it was a relief to get off it at Blackheath and the short walk upto the common. Here we had to say goodbye and good luck to Josh, as he was starting in a different wave to Mo and I. We made our way in to the Blue Wave assembly and start area. Now on the lookout for fellow Run for Funners. The pre arranged meet point was under the blue air balloon. Carl Rushton had text me on the way to the common, informing me of his exact location - infront of the lorries with baggage numbers 5601-6150! After a quick photo with Mo and myself, we went and found Carl. It wasnt to long until we were joined by Coralie "The Goddess" Masters-Hill, Emma "Marathongirl" Stanfield, Hannah Prentice and Karen. Lots of chit chat and nervousness soaked up a good 40 minutes until all the ladies needed the Loo. Oh and Carl did too. Again it was time for goodbyes and good lucks as we made our waves into our pens. A 30 second silence was amazingly observed, and a timely reminder of our togetherness in the running community. I was expecting it to take a long time to cross the start line, but 8 minutes later I was off. The thing that struck me straight away was the supporters. From the start line it was 3-4 people deep! Cheering as if we were in the final mile! With the crowds cheering the first few miles went by happily waving. Eventually we joined up with the red wave and headed to the first real iconic London marathon image, the Cutty Sark. Holding back the tears, realizing what I was actually doing, I became conscious that my legs really were tired. I was in for a long day! I persevered and it wasn’t long till iconic image number two, Tower Bridge. It has a slight uphill in it, but the buzz of the crowd and running Tower Bridge I hardly noticed. It was not far after this that I realized two marathons in 8 days is tough! Heading into the Docklands, I had one thing on my mind; I need to see my running buddy at the 25km marker. I needed a familiar face! It wasn’t long till I saw it. That gave me the push I needed to get to the 30km marker, where another familiar face was waiting. Fortunately at 18 miles an unexpected familiar face was shouting at me! A brief stop and an offer of beer, sadly declined at this point, I continued on. The 30km marker eventually loomed, surrounded by the large buildings of the Docklands. A friend said it can be quiet here, it wasn’t!! Pushing on, I felt like I was on the final straight, but one more familiar face which I really needed to see was my wife’s! Just before mile 22 it arrived!! Hug time!! My mother and brother were also their and had come up into the big smoke to cheer me on. I feel really blessed that they had come to support me. Its a long day for the runners, but we have a strong focus. It must be a really hard day for the supporters too!! With me feeling sorry for myself, my wife gave me some encouraging words and I headed off. The crowds were really growing now, shouting and encouraging us all!! It was almost impossible not to smile. The only muscle in my body that wasn’t hurting! Big Ben (St Stephens Tower) soon loomed, symbolizing the start of the finish. I suddenly felt a little refreshed and lifted my pace a little. This wasn’t exactly quick. Forever the tourist I decided to do a little filming heading towards Buckingham Palace and the Mall. I then tactically maneuvered myself into a position for a great finishing photo and crossed the line in a personal worst of 5hours 26. But hey, id just ran one of the world’s most iconic marathons!!
After crossing the line, I had one final mission to complete, receive my medal from friend and fellow RFF Lisa Harold. I knew she would be on the right side of the finishing area, so headed that way. I soon found myself in a line, but it was the wrong one. Quickly diving out and into the correct one!! It seems silly now, but it was important to me then, it still is actually. Thats what make these events even more special. Medal and hugs received, time for my finishers photo with medal. After that was done I walked western style to reclaim my baggage. On my way there i bumped into Sian Lewis-Evans, or more she bumped into me. Sian was the young lady I met sweeping the Thames Path 100 only a few weeks back. Isnt it wonderful, that amongst 35,000 runners, you can still bump into familiar faces. After a little chat and well dones I headed to the pre arranged meet point - a tree with R on it. Here it was time for more hugs. Meeting up with Chris Murray, Mo, Joanne, AJ, and Martine. I felt shattered and was already dreading the train home!!
Finishing at the Mall meant only a short walk back to Waterloo station. Well, short when you havent ran a marathon!! This would mean we needed to cross the race route again. I was amazed that there were still runners out there, and i did my bit, now as a supporter and cheered them on! Once at Waterloo I decided I had done enough to have a Burger King and made probably one of my quickest manouvres of the day. Straight at it!!
Eventually home, Mo and I discussed the days events awaiting the arrival of Paula Patterson. Paula soon arrived, champers in hand!! A great day was finished off with bubbles and a chin wag, but I was spent. Two marathons in 8 days is tough! What made me think I could do it? Nothing, but I could only try. And i succeeded!
With my medal