I woke on Sunday morning with the dreaded “maranoia”. The fear that I couldn’t do it was very real! Needless to say, once I was up and I’d tucked into a race worthy breakfast that feeling began to subside. The realisation that I was about to do something big for a very worthy cause was all the motivation I needed, knowing I was the only runner out of tens of thousands representing this amazing foundation filled me with overwhelming emotion – composure was needed!
I jumped in the car kitted out and drove to Baker Street, whilst thinking – this is it, the day has arrived! I parked up no problem, then flagged down a black cab to take me to Cannon Street Station so I could grab my train to Greenwich for the start.
My cab driver was a superstar, being a runner himself he had experienced the marathon before and gave me some helpful tips, most notably “make use of the free Vaseline and enjoy yourself” if this advice was given in any other context it would be sure to raise a few eyebrows!
At Cannon Street, the station was packed out with a variety of people, of all ages, in a multitude of coloured vests and after a cursory look around the majority were running for charity. Everyone had a smile on their faces, admittedly some more nervous than others but we all had the same purpose. To get around the 26.2 miles (making use of the free Vaseline) to do our charities, friends and family proud….
Packed like Lemmings we all exited the train and took the ten minute walk to the start line. I had never seen so many people!
Everyone did their individual prep, stretching, kissing a loved one goodbye or eating a banana – My personal choice involved taking selfies to send to my friends as proof that I was actually there!
I got completely swept up in the atmosphere….at the start line people were telling me they were looking to complete it in under 3.30hrs, sub 4, sub 5hrs. I thought am I in the wrong place, is this the elite runners start line??! Shall I move to the back? Then I turned around and saw a 7ft gingerbread man! Phew, I’ll be ok!
And so, to the race itself – I won’t lie, it wasn’t pretty, I had to really dig deep and thanks to my inner determination, more strapping than Jordan and remembering why I was running this marathon I popped in my headphones selected my playlist, raised up my head and put one foot in front of the other.
The atmosphere was electric, the crowd were better than any football/rugby match I have been too, supporting and encouraging every runner. I devoured every jelly bean, sweet and bit of chocolate I could get my hands on as well as drank what felt like my body weight in water.
My family were at mile 14, my mum almost jumped into the race itself and seeing them for the first time that day I had to use all my will power to hold it together. They were there again at mile 19 and 23!
At mile 21 I really started to flag, my body was screaming for me to stop but my head kept saying keep going – think of the money you’re raising, all the support you’ve had – so I dug deep and plodded on, and I mean plodded. The fact I was overtaken by a Green Dragon with pink spots at mile 24, admittedly added to my sudden sense of urgency and desire to get to the finish line. And I did, in a respectable 5hrs 31mins….!
To sum the day up it was a mind over matter battle and a complete emotional rollercoaster. One that I am extremely proud of and to know that I have helped raise awareness and money for a cause so close to my heart is something I will cherish for a very long time.