Without doubt the London Marathon is the best race I’ve run. The atmosphere is amazing, at other races the crowd cheer and the support is amazing, in London the crowd roar, it’s the closest thing I think to being a proper sportsman. Why the crowds come out year after year I don’t know but I’m very happy that they do.
Do you know best laid plans? The videos I allegedly took whilst running? No sign of them on my camera now I’ve come to download them, I’m gutted. So, I’ll have to do my best to put it into words (won’t be a patch I’m afraid).
After the worry of the week of weather forecasts predicting full sun and 21 degrees Sunday morning was cloudy and quite cool, it was forecast to get hot later on. Up at 6, downstairs for 3 slices of white toast then out the door at 7:10 with Liz, Mum and Carol and Dave (Liz’s Mum & Dad). The tube and DLR were heaving, I couldn’t believe it at that time on a Sunday morning, talk about breathe in and push on. Anyway we did and we got there.
Then it was into the assembly area and start pen. Even this was brilliantly organised, I honestly can’t fault it. At about 9:40 we all started shuffling forwards, round the corner then there’s the start line! We’re off. I crossed the line around 9:47, not delayed much at all.
This is where it all gets a bit woolly. I just have snapshots in my head (many more early on that later on I may add).
A pub with at least 40 people stood outside dressed as pirates.
The Blues Brothers singing to us as we ran past another pub (I had a great video of that too).
The red and blue starts merging and everyone booing each other.
Then Greenwich and Cutty Sark, this was the point where the first huge crowds kicked in. The roar was incredible, even now I get shivers down my spine thinking about it. I was feeling good, a good pace was being kept, it was a pleasure to be there. I even waved at the cameras.
Then we were off out of Greenwich towards Tower Bridge. There was a point where the crowds were so deep they were spilling onto the road narrowing the runner’s paths. Incredible. So many people were shouting my name (on my vest) I couldn’t wave to them all sadly.
The drinks stations marshals were superb, they’d gee you up as you took the bottle ‘Come on Jay’, ‘You’re doing great’, ‘Keep it up’, great people.
We were running down a road with high buildings, there was sharp right at the end. I suddenly realised this was Tower Bridge. Half way. I got a great video crossing Tower Bridge too. Across the bridge then there’s a section where the runners ahead are coming back on the opposite side, thankfully this was only the elites at this point. On we went.
I was expecting Canary Wharf at 18 miles but it seemed to start much sooner – apartment blocks, etc. it’s probably just my poor geography. Still we charged on. It was starting to hurt a bit by now but with easily 90 mins left we were only just past halfway. At one point in Canary Wharf I heard someone holler ‘JAY’, I was already passed but it turned out that it was Ian (my Brother), everyone was there watching and managed to spot me.
Leaving Canary Wharf at about mile 19-20 I was really feeling it. This is where things start to get a bit patchy. I remember quite a few walkers but thinking ‘No, this is meant to be hard, a marathon’s as much in your head as in your legs’. On I pushed.
I remember the Tower with massive crowds. Running through The City the crowds continued, I was struggling now but knew it was only 3 miles to the finish.
The best part of the race must be the last 3 miles – Victoria Embankment, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace. I remember very little. I was focused on doing the next 500m, the next 500m, the next 500m. Everything was screaming at me ‘take a little walk, it’ll be OK’ but no, I knew I had to push on, I could not have looked myself in the mirror ever again if I’d walked even for a minute.
Onto Birdcage Walk, I never knew it was so long. The highlight surely would be turning at Buckingham Palace to run down the Mall? All I remember thinking was ‘I hope we’re going the short way round that roundabout.’
I don’t even remember crossing the line. I remember slowing down then literally staggering sideways. I have now idea why, I’ve never done that before. At some point my medal was placed round my neck (great touch), my timing chip was cut off then I had my photo taken. I managed a pose! I don’t know how, I was desperate for a drink and was struggling to walk in a straight line. Then goody bag and drink. At last! I sat on the edge of the Mall completely empty drinking my drink contemplating what I’d just achieved.
I sat for ten minutes or so then made the walk (shuffle) down to the reunion area where everyone was waiting. I was completely empty, emotional and needed a sit down. A hug from Ian, a hug for Liz and my Mum then a sit on the kerb. That was the best seat I’ve ever had.
Liz and my Mum were there, Ian, Jess, Al and Kath were there (Brother and Sister and partners) and Liz’s Mum and Dad. It was great. My Uncle Peter and Aunt Rosemary had come in from the suburbs to see us too as had Helen my Cousin and her Fiance Ricky. It was a lovely ending to the race, we all sat in St James’ park and chatted. I got the worst cramp of my life first in my right calf then my left which made me look a bit of a wimp as I winced and yelped.
Here’s a photo that my Aunt Rosemary took, I think this sums up a marathon perfectly.
That was my London Marathon 2010. We all had a great weekend. We’ve raised a lot of money for Myeloma UK which is what we set out to do and I beat my target time – I was aiming for 3:45, I finished in 3:42:42.
Here’s my run, ignore the height thing at 31-32km, that’s my watch going crackers as we were underground.