TOOK 5hours right on, well 5:01:20 to be precise!! whoop whoop 🙂
To Your Marks
Woke up wide awake and somewhat hyper at 5:15am, but forced myself to lay in bed trying to rest and got up at 6:40am just after my alarm went off. Had my Shreddies, but was too nerve-racking to eat the eggs and bacon I’d cooked the night before, so only ate bit of the eggs and made sandwiches. Caught Wimbledon to Waterloo train, along with loads of other marathoners and we then took the packed Waterloo East train to Greenwich station.
Wandering through Greenwich Park at 8:30am to the marathon area was quite a sight with the thousands of other runners all getting ready with their red Virgin London Marathon kit bags and brightly coloured shirts. As it was so warm I took off the bright red £3 top I’d bought from TK Max the day before (they suggest buying a cheap top to throw away if it’s a cold start) and showing off my running number of 46685 walked into the runners area to be greeted by Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.
Still a bit tired, sat in the park listening to the funny Geordi announcer guy and ate my egg/bacon sandwiches + some crisps and Muller Rice pudding 🙂 before noticing it was getting very close to 9:45am. So following a bunch of runners, I walked through a fence opening to the start line queue. Looking around, downing a Gatorade, I seemed to be surrounded by this bunch of very fit 3:30hr club athleteswell except for the guy in the big furry outfit a few metres behind me
The race started and off we went, took about 10mins to cross the starting line and was very exciting and great feeling from the start.
Wanted to pace myself with about 10 or 11minute miles, which I stuck to rather well. Got overtaken by millions of people for the first few miles, including Horny Paul the Rhino, but this didn’t really concern me as I had an idea I’d catch up with many of them later on, which I indeed did, including poor Horny Paul the Rhino just before 21miles where upon he looked rather hot , tired and bedraggled (massive respect to him). Fellow Save the Rhino runner Dave Curnick also said hi on the way 🙂
Words cannot describe how good the crowd were – their cheers really do keep you going, they give you motivation like nothing else. Also just knowing your friends are out there is a great boost. What is awesome too is that for the first 12 miles or so the roads are a bit more open and the thousands of people lining the route and cheering are just wonderful. Tons of kids/randoms hold their hands out and you can slap them a high or low five as you go past. Thanks to them all hugely. Big thanks to Terry too for telling me to put my name on my shirt, as you run along people sometimes shout your name and again it just keeps you going like you wouldn’t believe.
Seeing my friend Ben Hall at Surrey Quays 8.5miles in and his shout of ‘James Reed’ and then again at Tower Bridge and again at 21 miles was off the planet, mate that was someting else. Also the Rachel + Gina shouting like maniacs along with dad and his rhino placards and the rest of the family at 11.5mile mark in Bermondsey ruled and then on the Embankment, so good, so surprising and so enlivening.
The live music played along the way and the loud speaker music is also MASSIVE help, so good of the clubs/pubs/people to do that. Put it this way at one point, we’re talking about 22miles, they were playing Jump Around and I actually jumped past them it was so energizing, yeah at 22miles, lol.
The mile markers really do help too, really did find myself counting them down. Found the worst mile was mile 15, you’re a bit past half way and the going is starting to get tougher, it’s less populated, plus it was on somewhat of a hilly area and I desperately wanted to hit 16 (prob cos of the Epsom run). Once you hit 16 you know it’s two miles til 18 and once there it’s only 8 miles to go which should be possible, even walking.
The weather was warm, sunny and hot at points, nice suntan in the end, but cool enough to run (officially described start as ‘perfect conditions’) but I must’ve literally drunk about 10litres of water, I had countless bottles of water + lucuzade sports drinks handed out on the way and must’ve just sweated it out. The sports gels were also incredible. I’ve never tried a sports gel (liquid carbohydrates + glucose) before but they had Lucuzade gel stations at 14miles and 22miles, so I tried them and the result was remarkable, just seemed to propel you along.I also carried one of them(third taken at 23miles + at 24miles) and a couple of carbo-bars with me(consumed at 9 and 18 miles) which helped push me onwards.
Whereas many say they can’t feel their legs the last 6 miles, I actually picked up speed during the last 3 miles(seriously surprised at my own fitness), I mean I was properly running it, hitting 11kmph apparently. Meant I overtook hundreds of people, including some really old and some really in-trouble runners and Sprinted over the finish line!
Received my medal, goodie bag and got one of those silver foil capes I’ve wanted pretty much my whole life and was one of the main reasons I did this thing Then hanged out with the Save the Rhino team, thanks so much Adam and Lucy you guys are the best, had a leg massage from two very nice blondes and was met and greeted by the old folks, Gina, Stephen, the Rachel, Ben, Henry, Jackie and the QRC bunch. I waited until the last Rhino came in (about 7:30hrs, a lady who’d run the Brighton marathon the week before!) and then headed to Wagamamas for a chicken Katzu curry. The finale being a pint of Guinness with Mr.Hall in Wetherspoons in Wimbledon! Zzz
Other Highlights Of The Race
- My running battle/war with none other than Mickey Mouse! the pesky mouse kept repeatedly running fast, overtaking me, then slowing down a bit and so I’d overtake him, then the menacing mouse would do the same again and I couldn’t do anything cos the crowd loved him and kept shouting “Mickey!” all the time!
- Being chased by a tiger, he was very funny
- Racing a couple of Elvis’s
- Being well overtaken by Dino the dinosaur and the Flintstones, then seeing them doing some interview later on.
- Seeing the guy in the green Tinkerbell fairy outfit who was kicking a football all the way
- Seeing the two firemen walking at about 12miles in FULL UNIFORM + BOOTS, they must’ve been ahead of me by a good way until then! wow!
- The Knights in full armour jogging past me at points.
- Txting facebook and friends “At 24miles!” when gone through the tunnel at 24 miles 🙂
- Seeing a big hairy Lion right at the end
- Watching the Rhinos come in – wo those guys are crazily brave running in those things!
- Lots of other moments…
I have to say the whole thing was organised extremely well from start to finish and All in all was a brilliant brilliant day!
Finally thanks again to super runner + running expert Nico, all credit to him for telling me to run this thing in the first place!
And so my London Marathon 2011 training blog warms down to a close, thanks for reading 🙂