To be honest, London was the start of the Thyroid Cancer Trust (TCT) Campaign. I was very kindly offered a place to raise funds for TCT. However, having run a few, I really did not think anyone would sponsor me enough to warrant taking the place. But throw in the Sahara, 9 mile swim, Ironman Wales, Ocean Lava and The November Challenge and the fundraising landscape looked a bit more positive!
Having only had 12 days rest from Marathon Des Sables; I was a little unsure how the body was going to hold out in London. This is where the Cape comes into its own; it immediately puts you into the fancy dress division and alleviates all pressure….. Well it does if you have not put yourself in Pen 1 on the start line !!
So Saturday check in. After MDS I had really forgotten what a smooth running machine London is. No queue, chipped, a smile and a great expo!! London Marathon is vast, but the buzz in the expo is great. So many people doing the race for so many different reasons. Charities, PB’s, bucket list – it’s quite emotional talking to some.
Sunday – Race day
All Public transport is free on Marathon day. I hopped on the underground at High Street Kensington, quick change in Westminster and was at London Bridge Train station in no time. The underground is full of runners; so unlike any normal tube ride – every one wants to chat!! As I boarded the train at London Bridge for the short journey to Red Start I prepped my drink.
Accidentally I dropped 3 zero tablets into my bottle!! Not thinking, I filled it with water and sealed the lid. Seconds later i felt the bottle getting harder and harder! Second mistake………opening the nozzle in a crowded train!! Immediately it fizzed as I put my mouth over the top. In seconds my cheeks were full with nowhere to go…. A run to the toilets just in time allowed me to park the bottle!! I could still hear it from my seat bubbling over!! To be honest the morning had been far too calm and it cheered up the carriage !!
With MDS only 12 days ago I was more than aware of what can happen. As I lined up in Pen 1, the marshal approached me, looked at the Cape and said “this isn’t your first marathon is it?” As I listened to all the other runners talking about their sub 3 times, this was not going to be the slow start I had planned for!! OK – Plan A: Go with it for 2 miles, pull back and hold it to tower bridge (12 Miles). Then its either crack on or turn into Fancy dress mode!!
Mile 6 – Cutty Sark – As I approached the turn, I spoke to Mike from Ireland who was running with me for past 2 miles and said – “you are in for a treat now!!” Those that have run London will know what I mean. Although the race is wall to wall support, there are pods of sheer noise. The Cutty Sark is the first of these points – Oh and it did not disappoint!!!
Mile 9 – Beginning to really hurt !! Not great as still a way to go, although my body was beginning to say no; the watch and times were consistent and not slowing.
Mile 12 – Tower Bridge – Second ball of noise!! Again was incredible. This is and always will be one of my favourite parts of this race. Wales Flags draped all over the bridge, crowds simply screaming all day.
From here it’s a mental game.. 13 halfway; 16 – 10 to go. 17 single figures only 9 left, that’s 3 x 3mile runs. The body was saying no, but the watch was still saying yes! Just got to keep the mental games going!
20 miles and here we go. My legs began to tighten but I knew I only had to keep moving at half decent pace to get under 3:30 – A time I was more than happy with after MDS.
Once you hit 24 in London its 2.2 miles of Noise! Especially when you see Tent 133 athletes from MDS shouting your name !
I had no-one in London with me, but began to get really emotional. This is how I wanted to feel in the Sahara. This was my finish. It brought the last month to completion.
As I passed a few that had reduced to a walk I tried to get them going, “run with me, stay on my toes, follow the cape”….within a mile we had a good chain gang!! We were all a mile out.
Mile 25 – Push, hold nothing back and soak up everything around.
As you hit the 800m to go sign you know its Buckingham Palace and into the final straight…
Then, it’s over.
London you were incredible. Organisation, Volunteers, Supporters, my Bar man and Londoners I thank you all!!!
How do I get a place next year????
If you would like to donate to Thyroid Cancer trust please just click on the donate button on the right ! Or visit www.captaincymru.com/donate. Thank you !