It's still not sunk in that I've run one of the biggest and most famous marathon's in the world, it seems like a dream but then that's probably because I'm still half asleep.
|The walk from Maze Hill station|
I was proudly running on behalf of the British Heart Foundation who had exclusive use of the Pavilion Tea House adjacent to the start of the race. This was ideal, while the other competitors shivered in the early morning sun, we were nice and warm with food and water and more importantly toilets. This was relaxing and was a chance to meet and talk to fellow BHF runners.
|BHF HQ for the morning|
|On your marks, get set..er...go (in about 10 minutes!)|
The crowds began to grow as we made our way through Charlton and Bermondsey and the support was great through here with live bands and plenty of cheering.
After mile 3, water stops are every mile with 3 Lucozade stops throughout the race, so it's easy enough to keep yourself well hydrated. Mile 6 and we passed the first landmark, the newly restored Cutty Sark. Here I took on my first gel, and everything was going along nicely.
The miles continued to flash past with so much going on around you and we were soon approaching half way. This was probably one of my favourite moments when we crossed Tower Bridge. It was amazing and the support was great too. I even managed to fumble with my phone and grab a shot!
It was after crossing the bridge that I felt a queasy and was worried that so early in the race I had hit a bit of trouble. But the second gel soon kicked in and I was feeling OK again, it was now though that the reality kicked in that I was running 26.2 miles and not a tourist sight seeing for the day!
This is always a great point to reach mentally as now I could begin the mind games to dwindle down the miles. I picked up a pace band at the Expo which listed out my times I needed to hit each mile for a 3 hour 55 minute finish and at this stage I was about a minute and a half ahead of time.
The next point to get to was 15 miles ( I could get a Lucozade) then 18 miles (I could have another gel) then 20 miles (This mile starts with a 2! and I had a 10K race to go). As I went through these miles I was now beginning to really tire, but this is when you can tune into the amazing support. I tended to generally run in the centre of the road, but word of advice, if you need a pick me up better than a gel, put your name on your top run close to the crowds and get the unbelievable buzz of people shouting your name at you. For the first time in my life I experienced what it must be like to be a top athlete and the buzz they must get from this. I can also understand why football clubs sometimes call their fans the twelve man if they are playing at home. So to everyone you shouted a "C'mon Ian C", thank you, it made all the difference and got me to my goal. The BHF had support areas along the course and they were brilliant too.
|Amazing crowd support|
I had 3 objectives for this race: 1) To get a sub 4 hour finish time. If not then 2) Run the whole race without walking. If not then 3) Enjoy the moment. I was fortunate enough to tick all 3 off.
I came in at a time of 3:58:50, not a lot to spare but never the less I'd done it.
Refreshed I then made my way to the meet and greet area to meet my family and Tim (@jedirider) who had made the trip up to watch. The meet and greet area, as you can imagine is hectic but there was some order in that it was divided up into area's with letters for your surname. After some refreshments and chat it was then home with the family and a big celebration KFC party! (Well I had just burnt of 2600 calories!!!)
Huge thank yous go out to my amazing family for their support and donations. Everyone else who sponsored me. My Twitter running family (you know who you are!) Brian for keeping me company on my runs and at the Expo. Tim for the company on those long Sunday training runs,The BHF and the London crowds (you done the capital proud) and everyone who takes the time out to read my little blog.
It's now time for some rest and some chill out running with no pressure and then plan for the next adventure!