I was lucky enough to get a place in the WRC club draw for London in 2015. It was my first marathon and such an amazing experience. I honestly thought I’d never do London again so you can imagine my shock and excitement when that beautiful buzzy bee landed on my doorstep at the start of October last year! I was IN, and I felt completely awesome and awful at the same time!
Over the next few days there was the excitement of finding out which other WRCers were in and which were sadly out. A few weeks later there was the club draw and another 4 WRCers were in. And then there was those raising money for great causes with a charity place. London Marathon 2016 was looking to be a much bigger WRC affair than the year before. Especially as lovely club members not taking part were booking to come down just to support us (and have a drink or two!).
So hotels and trains were booked, training was done, and suddenly it was the day to journey to London to collect our numbers, to carb load with a group from a few of the local clubs at a nearby restaurant, and get a good night’s sleep for the big day.
It was an early start on the big day. Porridge was consumed, and a group of us met up in the hotel foyer to get the tube and train to the start. It was chilly outside and rain was in the air, but the tube and train were warm due to the sheer number of people heading to the same place. We followed the crowds off the train towards Blackheath Common and our blue start. Once there we had enough time to put our bags on the trucks and pop to the loo (the female urinals and she-wees were avoided by us girls!).
Suddenly it was only a few minutes from the start so we got in our pens and waited to go. Last year I found this so emotional with it being my first marathon. This year I was more together, and was delighted to briefly see a friend who had come to see me start the marathon.
Then we were moving. It was a slow walk to the start line, with people stripping off and launching tops, plastic ponchos and bin bags that they had been wearing to keep them warm. Then we started to jog, turned the corner, and went through the start line running past the cheering crowds and hot air balloons. London 2016 had started!
For me there’s a number of very memorable parts to the race. It hailed on us! There was the excitement and buzz with the massive crowds and TV cameras at Cutty Sark. I ran over Tower Bridge missing my family as that’s where they were stood cheering me the year before and they were at home this year. But then just around the corner was the WRC family of cheerers – I spotted them before they spotted me, and when they did spot me I was deafened! I can hardly describe the feeling – overwhelmed and part of something amazing! Shortly after that I was delighted to see Ben 401 running near me – I’d hoped to spot him but never expected to with so many people. He was pleased to see a WRCer and had loved his WRC cheerer reaction too! Not long after that I got to 20 miles which was a bit of a personal accomplishment as I’d ran it for the first time ever without stopping or walking.
But then, 2 miles later, I pulled over in agony. I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg. I’d never had this before and I thought that was it all over, a DNF for me. Luckily I’d stopped right by the St John Ambulance team so took myself straight in there to be seen. It turned out to be cramp (not a tear like I was afraid of), and a lovely physiotherapist volunteer gave my leg a massage, it eased, and I was sent on my way. Her work got me round, I could still feel it, but it was OK. I ran (with some walking) past the fabulous WRC cheerer group again, past the Tower of London, towards Big Ben, round the corner at Buckingham Palace, and towards that magical finish line…. I’d done it!!! And then I cried!!!
The support at London is amazing, immense, noisy, and sometimes overwhelming. The race itself is just perfectly organised, they have everything down to a tee. The amazing group of people who had come from WRC to cheer were waiting in a pub afterwards – the pub who’s patrons (not just WRC) cheered their heads off whenever someone sporting a London Marathon medal entered! Just an amazing weekend, with a lot of great friends and supportive people. I can’t wait to find out who is in next year (although I’m not telling anyone if I get a place for the 3rd year running!!).