Well it was my slowest recorded marathon time by over 40 minutes at 4 hours, 28 minutes… Yet this Sunday just gone was the most enjoyable marathon I have run, for many reasons.

What a day.

The sun shone, a record 36,000 runners took part, the streets were filled with thousands cheering on the runners throughout the race, my wonderful wife included, and it was an amazing experience.

I had left home at 5am to drive to Basingstoke… Good old Bournemouth does not offer a Sunday train service that early, so I met my brother Ben and we got the train from Basingstoke to London Waterloo. The closer we got, the more runners filled the train. We then got the overland train to greenwich which was massively packed and made our way to the park next to the start, carrying our official red bags with our post-race essentials that get transported to the finish line when we get there.

In The Park

This area is ram packed with thousands of runners, all running for charity. Big groups cheered, warmed up, used the toilets (essential pre-race!), stocked up on last minute carbs, drank fluids and gradually assembled close to the start line.

We had a cup of tea and stood under a tree with our caps on as it drizzled for a while, then got in amongst the runners on the start line, had a chat with a couple of guys from Blackpool with brightly coloured, chicken hairstyles… As you look back, you can see seemingly miles of people all bobbing up and down waiting for the countdown… With TV cameras hovering above and crowds cheering, it is exciting and nerve-wracking.

Start LineOnce the countdown has happened, it takes a couple of minutes to get to the start line as the runners start running, your runners chip tied to your trainers ensures your official time only starts when you cross the line… and you are away…

The race is a joy. There are people every inch of the streets cheering you on, offering up sliced orange segments and jelly babies… The water stations are almost every mile, and there are lucozade stations and gel stations as well as showers to run under to cool down, especially as the sun shone…

There is loud music in many places, people hanging out of windows, bunting hanging from pubs exteriors and all the runners keep you driven and motivated… There were so many wonderful moments I could share here, but I’d be writing all day…

You come in along the Embankment, past Buckingham palace and along the red tarmac of birdcage walk… When you read the sign that says “800 Metres to go” it feels like a long way… Yet I picked up my pace and gave it one final push for the finish line and you raise your arms as you arrive there…

Finish Line

All that training, all that commitment, all those people raising all that money… All that prosperity mindset… I had a beer with my family afterwards, felt emotional when my wife told me how proud she was and made sure I applied for next years race… Next year… I am planning to get a better time, I have a year to prepare, I am going to run another marathon this Autumn to prepare and I am more determined than ever… Bring it!

Thank you to my brother who kept me spurred on throughout winter and showed me his heels in the first mile… My wife for her unending encouragement and assumptions that I can do this time after time… And to all of you who sent me the many messages, who sponsored my efforts and offered up all the love and support… You are greatly appreciated by me, thank you 🙂

Medal Shot