I am so pleased that I took part. It was tough but I loved it. At the start line I could quite happily of not taken part as I was so nervous. However, the same sentiment was being echoed all around me. I walked the couple of miles from my hotel up to the park where the race began, handed all my belongings over to the baggage truck. A surprisingly quick thing to do, possibly because I had left it quite late- from the baggage truck to the start line in ten minutes. I was so nervous and was doubting myself before I began. So much so that I went into the back of the slowest pen rather than the one I had signed up to start at. I started with a couple of other runners from my club.
Start line selfie
My race number.
All too quickly we were off. I couldn't stop chuckling at the roughly one mile mark. We went round a corner and then all you could see were fellas in bushes, i don't think i need to explain why their backs were to the rest of the world. I can understand why- the queues to the toilets were horrendous. I didn't bother to go into one, I knew there were toilets on the course if needed. I started nice and slow and soon got in to the rhythm I slowly started passing people along with my two club runners i started with. Although at some point i must have left them behind as one minute they were just behind me and then they weren't any more. I decided to plod on regardless thinking they would catch up with me at some point along the way. The atmosphere of the race was fantastic. runners cheered each other along, the faster runners egging us slower runners on at the parts where they doubled back and passed us. The crowds were amazing, lots of supporters cheering everyone along, there were people playing upbeat music both bands and people in the homes having turned up the music very loud so it could be heard. It really was fantastic and made it hard to stop running, you had to keep going after all these people had made an effort to come and watch!
I don't use gels when I run I usually have jelly babies and lots of fluids so I filled an arm pouch with my inhaler and some jelly babies to keep me going. I didn't carry water as I new there were water stops every couple of miles so I made the most of those. However, so many people were handing out jelly babies I could have managed without carrying those.
A few weeks before the marathon I read a lot of posts about running and the thing which stuck in my mind was that there will be lots of children wanting to high five runners. Only 1 % of the population run a marathon, the children spectating could be inspired to become the athletes of tomorrow. So I high fived away! Sometimes changing the side I was running on as i had seen runners passing by children without high fiving.
The toughest part for me was mile 20-23 where we went out along an industrial area, there weren't many supporters there and i was getting tired. Soon i was back on the main area and people were back shouting encouragement. The finish line never looks so far away- it doesn't help that what I thought was the finish line was actually a pedestrian bridge so that people could cross the road LOL
Finally someone shouted just 3oom to go- 300m has never felt so far. When I finally made it to the finish line i didn't know whether to laugh, cry or kiss the bloody thing! I was exhausted. 4 hours and 55 minutes of running and I did it!!
I walked in a daze for little while until I found a flower bed i could perch on without needing to bend! I ached. I took this picture I was so amazed that I made it to the end. I sat here for a while, people walked past congratulating me. I checked my phone there were 30 messages of support from friends and family who had been tracking me on the marathon app to see how i had been doing. Slowly, I made my way back to the car and drove myself home. I stopped in a services, it made me smile to see so many people in there who had also ran- medals and survivor t-shirts were everywhere. I got myself a flapjack as I was feeling a little peckish but didn't want the burger/chips combos that were being sold.
I realised once i got home and was relaxing in a bath this time last year 5k's were a challenge for me to run- I have now run 42k not bad progress to make in just a year is it!!