The thing about the Virgin London Marathon is that however hard it is for you, there is always someone else for whom it was harder! I was overtaken in the last mile by the newly crowned ‘World’s Fastest Pantomime Horse’. Clearly in a bad way, they were weaving and stumbling along, I was simply concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other but they were still moving faster than me. Imagine being the back-end of the horse, bent double for nearly five hours?
Of course there are many incredible achievements every year, but its not until you are actually part of it that you see just how impressive everyday people are. When you get past half way and it starts to hurt, it makes no difference if you are young, old, celebrity or nobody. It’s hard and its down to you alone to get to the end.
My day went pretty much as expected, I enjoyed the first 15 miles, the next five were increasingly hard and the last six were a struggle. But I finished in a time of 4.54, six minutes inside my target of 5 hours. Mainly this was achieved by a steady consumption of water (around 8 bottles) and Nectar energy drink (750ml) which I carried with me; and also a very steady pace.
For the nerds out there, my half marathon split was 2.12. Apparently you should add 15 minutes to your second half which would have been 2.27 – add that together and you get 4.39, so I was a little bit off track but not drastically so.
The truth is though, this event for most is not about achieving a time, its about the challenge and the experience.
I thought I would be more emotional at the end, but actually I was just relieved to be there in one piece, it’s only now that I can look back and feel happy and proud.
For me now its back to barefooting, I saw several runners totally barefoot and others in minimal shoes. My Brooks Green Silence lightweight race shoes have done me proud and I could never go back to full-on supportive running shoes, but now its time to get naked and see if the next time I do a marathon I can manage it barefoot.