Still can’t quite believe that I’ve actually run a marathon. I’ve watched the London marathon for years and to think that I’ve now finished that same race is crazy, and would have been totally unthinkable just two years ago.
It wasn’t a perfect day for me, finishing slower than I think I’m capable of, but it was such a great experience regardless. Having my friends and family come out to see me and cheer me on was fantastic, and the London crowds were something else. I’m not sure I went more than a couple of minutes when someone wasn’t shouting my name. The medal is going to very special to me for a very long time.
As for what’s next I’ve gotten straight back to it running the Hackney Half marathon after a few weeks rest. The next couple of months are going to be focused on building my base level of fitness, focusing on strength in particular. But then I’ll be back to marathon training as I’m heading to Chicago in October this year to run the marathon there. Hopefully I can take everything I’ve learnt from training for London to give Chicago my best possible effort.
It’s been a couple of weeks since the marathon so I’ve had ample time to reflect. I had a really easy start to the day which was nice. The train I hopped on wasn’t too busy and I was in the green start area so fewer people in the loo queues! Wave 7 meant I started at 10:48am and the lack of people meant getting into my stride was easy and I didn’t have to swerve to avoid crowds of people.
The first half of the race was pretty uneventful. I managed to see friends and family at both mile 5 and 9. I also got to see a lot of things, like the Cutty Sark that I haven’t seen before. Coming over Tower Bride was also quite an overwhelming moment – cue the first set of tears I had to hold back.
I’d say mile 13-19 were my least favourite part. Not only was I starting to get a bit tired but the crowds has become fewer and there was also the sight of the runners at mile 22ish heading towards the finish line. Luckily I got to see my family a few times around Canary Warf which certainly helped me keep going. I also made a very very daring decision to have some of the Lucozade Jelly beans on course for the first time – luckily nothing horrendous happened! I think the thought of some solid food outweighed any potential calamity at this point in the run. Gels just didn’t seem appealing to me! After that I grabbed as many packets as possible at each station and I think they kept me going for the latter part of the race.
The last 4/5 miles where my favourite part of the whole race. Although I was tired and taking more frequent walk breaks the crowds were absolutely electric. There was something about them that urged me to keep running when in a much quieter race I’d have been happy to give up! Coming down the Mall as well was an amazing moment. I managed to get a sprint finish in, however, I nearly had to stop as I was close to tears – not ideal whilst running!
After my whole marathon experience would I do it again? – absolutely. I think at this early stage in my marathon life I’d opt to compete in more big city marathons. The crowds were a huge part of the enjoyment for me and I don’t think I have the mental power to run in a quiet crowd free race just yet. Currently I’ve got my name on the 2020 London Ballot and I’m looking into potentially entering Edinburgh and the Berlin ballot. If I could do anything differently I’d certainly train more! I definitely didn’t have enough miles in the bank and I suffered in the later parts of the race. But all in all I had an absolutely amazing time and I really hope I’m lucky enough to run London again one day.
I still can’t believe that the marathon is over, it seems like a distant memory now and I often wonder if I dreamt the whole thing! The day was fab from start to finish, from the exciting atmosphere in the Blue Start zone, to the buzz of excitement as we approached Tower Bridge and the emotion of finally seeing that finish line after hours of plodding. It wasn’t the finish time I’d hoped for, but I’m proud to say I’ve completed my first marathon and learnt SO MUCH to enable me to become a better runner and train smarter.
At the moment I’m struggling to complete a 5k but the plan for now is to focus on shorter distances and strength training ready to start training for Brighton next year! I’ve also developed a love for cycling and will be riding in the Eastbourne Cycling Festival in July – perfect cross training!
Pre marathon ‘fear’ is real and consumed me all the way up to the day. It made me doubt and question everything because I believed that my training not going to plan was going to make me struggle…I was wrong! From the second I started I knew I was going to do it and my goal was to just keep moving. The day was amazing, I wasn’t tempted to turn my headphones on once because the crowds and atmosphere really are as amazing as everyone says they are…it really is a money can’t buy and words cannot express kind of magic that I’d recommend to anyone! It’s really hard to pick a favourite moment because it’s all so special…but seeing Buckingham Palace and the running to the finish line is pretty epic! If you want to do it – just go for it, if I can ANYONE can, you won’t regret it! My one tip would be to try and stick to the blue line as much as you can though…I ran 27.5 miles instead of 26.2 meaning my official finishing time is about 13 mins off what I really did the distance in!
I took the plunge and booked flights and accommodation in Tokyo about 3 weeks before I did London (so luckily I AM still up for another marathon), so all the focus now moves to getting a spot and improving my time! Lots of my friends are applying for London 2020 too so I’m in the ballot but will I resist not taking another charity spot…
The day was a whole load of ups and downs! I started with a lot of nerves, I’m the kind of person who likes to have EVERYTHING in order and im not keen on uncertainty so I was anxious to just get myself to the start.
I didn’t eat anywhere near enough in the morning because I was so keen to get going, I only had 2 croissants! I had flapjacks in my drop bag and forgot to take them out before I put the bag on the bus too, which I think really negatively impacted my performance on the day.
Meeting some of the Morning Coffee Run Crew on the way to the race, and bumping into people at the start area was amazing! I ended up catching Simon on the way round, and had an epic wave with someone from my running club just after tower bridge as she was coming the other way.
The atmosphere was incredible, especially the first 5 miles or so when I still had the adrenaline going! I’ve never felt anything like it crossing the finish line, it was different to any race I’ve ever done, I couldn’t quite believe I’d done it!
Meeting up with everyone in the pub afterwards was bloody brilliant, and I credit my 5 pints for the fact my legs didn’t hurt the next day. To be honest, I think the beer at the end was the best bit! It was such an incredible experience, I’m a bit disappointed with my time, but I guess that’s what motivated me to enter the ballot for next year!
Next up is the Maverick Exmoor Marathon which I’m really looking forward to, even though it’s going to be brutal. After that I’ve got Race to the Stones, and then who knows what’s next! Hopefully another London Marathon, maybe a 100 miler? One day I’m hoping to do UTMB, so that’s a constant goal I’m working towards, and I’m hoping to be in a position to enter the OCC next summer!