Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Two days ago I completed my second marathon, 26.2, some of them, difficult miles. The journey began what seems a very long time ago now. April 2012 I entered the London marathon ballot to try and gain entry to run once more, my reasoning behind this was to give myself a chance to ascertain whether I could actually enjoy the experience of pounding the streets for over four hours and appreciate the enormity of this prestigious event and all the pomp and circumstance that accompanies it since I hated the first time.  The answer? Yes and no......

Just to recap, the rejection magazine had arrived months after entering the ballot, the next step is that it gave me entry into the club draw for a place. Marc, turning 18 before the race also entered and he too was rejected and after a protest was allowed to enter the club draw. We were both successful in gaining places. How proud I was that at such a young age Marc had decided to take on the challenge of running a marathon but not just any marathon, London marathon!

Following a tweet to Martin Yelling we downloaded a training plan and training commenced  in earnest. Choose what Mother Nature threw at us we trained through thick and thin.  As you would expect, we encountered the usual hiccoughs over which you have no control and can do little other than literally pray! That said we never considered that we wouldn't get to the start line. With club mate Claire entered for the Manchester marathon she was an amazing training partner since the three of us did the same routes most of the time but Marc would always be way out in front. Giving me cause to consider his marathon strategy and hope that he paced himself well and appreciated the distance he would have to go.  In taking on 21+ mile training runs I still knew that the full distance isn't appreciated until you actually come to do it. Something that a first timer has to discover.

So the events in Boston still left me wondering what effect they would have on London. Would the supporters stay away, indeed would runners be put off, would numbers be down? Not a chance, from what I remember of 2010, support this year was even more prolific and as for the runners -  we all stood shoulder to shoulder in defiance.

The day itself was fantastic from start almost to finish. I was was doing great and seemed to get to 10 miles and then half marathon in no time at all. It was hot with only short respite of a breeze now and again. Approaching mile 18, the thought of seeing family and friends outside our hotel spurred me on. After a brief 'hello' I carried on, but by mile 21 I was really feeling uncomfortable, chafing here and there, pain in my hips and back and generally fatigued. I walked for a short while until I began to feel better, reaching Big Ben I recalled how, the previous day we had walked around that part of the course which gave me a boost knowing I really didn't have too far to go.  By this point the crowds along the Embankment were immense and the support to the finishing line was second to none!

I can't describe the feeling as I came over the finish line - I was so pleased to have reached my goal and at the same time relieved that I didn't need to run any more.  My medal was placed over my head and I really had earned it but by the same token I really wished I could give each and every supporter a medal too, they truly deserved one. I immediately spotted a face I knew and didn't hesitate in walking over to say 'well done', I then realised it was BBC newsreader Naga Munchetty! She promptly returned the compliment!  Off I went to be photographed, pick up my goody bag and find my family.

All in a days marathon! Londone! For the last time!

Ready for off!
Hanging around the Blue start

Marc sending last texts!

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant effort, Julie - and a fantastic inspiration to the rest of us who may (or may not!) want to do a marathon. We were tracking and cheering you all the way - looking forward to seeing the medal in real life!