In just 12 months I've gone from 2 flights of stairs to 26.2 miles (42km)! It's still a bit surreal that I've run a marathon, but Sunday, 26th April I completed the London Marathon, all 42 kilometres of it. I'll start off with a quick summary for those with less time / patience, after which I'll give a step-by-painful-step break down of the run.
In summary, it was an absolutely amazing experience! It was one of the most painful yet rewarding things I've ever done. It only took about 8 minutes to cross the start line, then 4 hours and 52 minutes to cross the finish line... I was hoping to 4 hours 30 minutes, but a combination of very hot weather and underestimating just how difficult the last 6.2 miles would be led to the extra 20 minutes. Still, am very happy with my time and amazed that I've achieved something I've always wanted to do but never thought I would! If you've never done a marathon, doing one of the big ones is well worth it - the crowds from start to finish were amazing.
Now that the summary without any detail is done, here's the detail...
It was a superb day. 3 days before the weather forecast was heavy rain and showers, but 3 days and many prayers later and it was blue skies and not a rain drop in sight! I started off in Greenwich Park with my entourage - Mel, Mel's folks and Chris (trusty running partner in crime!). It was a great buzz walking to the start line, seeing thousands upon thousands of runners, most in normal running gear, some in costume, some dressed as Elvis, some as donkeys carrying sacks on their backs...madness!!
For the first 5km we ran through Charlton and from the start line it was literally lined with families on both sides of the road! I spent most of the time on the edges high fiving all the kids as I ran past which was great fun - such a great atmosphere. This also led to me being unaware of my time and when I reached Greenwich I was about 9 minutes ahead of schedule.
Fortunately Mel and her mum saw me and yelled out - what a great idea that they wave Aussie flags as there's no way I would miss an Aussie flag in the crowds. I ran past them and was really happy to see them, then a few steps on I heard Chris shout out. I'm sure she was on top of a wall of something as she was above the crowds. A short way on was Mel's dad, but he had no idea I was there. I yelled out "dad" a couple of times, but to no avail. So I shouted out "Peter" and that got his attention!!
Forgot to mention, through Charlton there were 2 priests outside the Catholic churches blessing the runners with holy water as we ran past! At least I'd hoped it was a blessing and not our last rites... :o)
Running along the Embankment was painfully great! The crowds really started to grow again as many of the charity support crews had their main cheer squads along here. I kept looking out for the Crisis cheer squad, but never saw them... In a daze I heard my name yelled out and there were Rox & Dan! I stopped for a few seconds to say hi, just because I'm so nice, not because I needed to rest... I then plodded my way with what was to be the longest 2 miles of my life! I think I saw Chris again at this point, but I can't quite remember... I also saw Ben at one point, but again, can't remember where! It was all a bit of a blur by this point...