4 months of training and the big day was upon us – the Virgin London Marathon. There were so many people running – 35K to be exact. The streets were lined with supporters, signs and sun! I had planned my spectator points with boy beforehand so he knew where to listen look out for me but when we arrived at cutty sark (Mile 6 – our first point) I was worried that we would miss him due to the sheer volume of spectators coupled with the small pavements. Those of you who know me, know I will find my way to the front of any crowd so I picked a spot and managed to wedge myself in front of a bike that was tied to a bike stand. I was on my tip toes scanning the runners as they passed in their hundreds. I was also trying to hold my sign up because I thought if he saw it then he might stop. But my line of thought wouldn’t have worked as when he saw my sign he said he thought it was for somebody else! – until he saw me holding it lol. Anyways after much scanning and leaning on the people in front of me and annoying people with my huge cardboard sign.
The people in front of me saw their runner and left, so I had front row seat! Lo and behold boy comes running up (what good timing) after screaming his name he came over to us and I gave him a big hug, squashed his cheeks and off he went (while I screamed at him to “go pee!”). First spectator point done. Unfortunately no pics of boy taken at this point as the excitement was too much!
Off we go to our second point – Mile 19, Canary Wharf. There was major people traffic and we were unable to get on the DLR at cutty sark so people were taking the foot tunnel (which there was also a queue for, but we jumped!) We came out by island gardens and got the DLR from there. I was hoping canary wharf would be quieter than cutty but just couldn’t picture it being quiet. Anyways we arrive and to my surprise the crowds were thin (maybe because we were under a bridge and everyone else wanted to be in the sun!) I started to hand out my jelly babies (I know how important this would be for the runners as they were over ¾ of the way there) while I waited for boy to come along and the runners were biting my arm off for them. This was mile 19 so I can imagine they were beginning to flag, if they hadn’t already flagged. we saw lots of runners stopping to stretch and I couldn’t imagine the amount of pain/cramps their bodies must be going through. We see boy and I scream again! I hug him loads this time, so proud of him, give him jelly babies and take some pics. surprised but very glad by how on form he looked. Boy was sensible and paced himself round keeping as constant and economical pace as possible.
Then, it was time for the final. Walking down the mall was amazing. The runners looked so happy, some concentrating so hard to just finish and the crowd was electric. Spectators are not allowed to stand at the finish line, so I chose to stand at the last possible point, which was 200m from the finish line. The crowds were about 7 deep here but I got lucky again with where I was standing (just after buckingham palace), as the people in front of me left so I was at the front and had full view of everyone coming round the corner. I kept my eyes peeled (less scanning as the runners had really dispersed towards the end) and eventually saw my boy come running! Again, he looked in such good form, no sweat, no pain, and smiling.
I snapped some pics and he was eager to cross the finish line. What a day! Everyone was in such high spirits and it was great seeing everyone come together, run and raise money for so many charities – kind of restores your faith in human kind. All in all a fabulous day, but advice to anyone who is going to be a spectator – take supplies with you, warm clothing, jelly babies (for the runners – you are allowed a few), a sign, lots of moral support and you need to be good with timings if you are going to a few points like I did.
Some final stats for you running geeks out there:
Distance: 26.2 miles (43 km)
Avg pace: 12:40 min/mile
Avg pace: 7:54 min/km
Total time: 5:39:44
Calories burnt: 2,394
I have asked boy to do a guest blog on his race so watch this space for a runners view of 26.2 miles.