The London Marathon is one of the most amazing things I have ever done ! The training was hard, and seems to go on forever. I started my training back in October 2009. Over the days and weeks my running distance gradually increased. The first time I ran 10 miles was with my two running partners and friends, Ali Ledger and Gwyneth Thorneywork. This distance was a killer and made me think ‘am I ever going to do this’. A typical Autumn English evening saw It pour with rain, cold temperatures and it was nearly dark by the time we got back.
I did my 15 miler with Charlie my youngest Son riding his bike beside me. Charlie supplied me with drinks and energy sweets during the run and kept me going. The weather was lovely and this made a real difference. 18 miles and 6 weeks to go was also a good run, on my own this time, I felt allot less stiff and sore after that run than I had on the 15 and 10 milers.
The day its self was fantastic, from the moment I left the hotel. Others all around you were going to Greenwich, you chat away to complete strangers you would probably never dream of speaking to normally, but you’re all in the same boat and all soooooo excited yet nervous too. I got to the red holding area, got all the kit on, handed my bag over and then it poured with rain ! I had no jacket so got soaked, what a way to start. By the time I had had the all important last toilet stop the sun was out and I had dried off.
From entering the holding area to crossing the start line took nearly 20 mins, then you’re off. I had so much good advice about not going to fast at the start. I really tried to keep to my normal run, but it is very hard with every one around you.
You are given a microchip disc that attaches to your shoe so when you cross the line it starts your time, then at 1 mile it registers again and then every 5K it records where you are, until you finish. It then gives you your exact time, mine was 5 hours 49 mins and 29 seconds.
This enabled Harry my 2nd Son and Brett my husband to track were I was through Harry’s iPhone. At the end it gives you a breakdown of your time at the markers, and although I really thought that I had not started too fast I actually did my first mile at approximately 11 miles per hour, there after I was going an average of 5 miles an hour
The whole route, and I mean the whole route was covered with people cheering you on. I didn’t see a single road where there wasn’t any one cheering offering you sweets, oranges, playing music, or as I was blessed by two different priests on route. I took my iPod but never even switched it on, I didn’t want to miss a single moment of the crowds and all there support, they were fantastic.
Barnardos who I ran for had three cheering stations. Brett and my family all made sure they were at these points. I knew they’d be at these points, this was a real help it gave me goals to reach. It was very emotional when I first saw them all. I had to give them all kisses and hugs and ran away with tears streaming down my face, although these were happy tears.
My low point was when I had run over Tower Bridge and turned the corner to do the Isle of Dogs loop. As I was starting the loop at 13 miles, on the other side of the road were the faster runners who had already done an extra 7 miles and were already at the 20 mile marker. I thought I’d never ever get round to that point. What got me through was thinking of all the £1, £5 and other donations that I had received. Knowing what good this would do for so many children in this country. Also, Brett and the Mob would all be at the 19 mile cheering station.
The race for me was very emotional, it gives you allot of time to think about why you are doing it. This really helped me get through.
I was advised to count the miles up to 20, then count down to the finish. This was great advice as the last miles went sooooo quickly in my mind. The last 2 are where the most people seemed to be. Getting even more encouragement and support, something I could never have even wished for.
The final turn at Buckingham Palace where you see the finish line, seems to happen all of a sudden and what a great relief that was ! When I crossed the finish line the Marshall said ‘you can stop now’, but my legs were doing there own thing and didn’t seem to be able to slow down. However when you do stop, that’s when it hurts.
I got back to the Barnardos venue took my trainers off to reveal 10 blisters on my toes some as big as a fifty pence piece, not a pretty site !
I was still on a high two days later and still can not believe I have achieved this massive challenge ! If anyone gets a chance to run the London Marathon, my advice is go for it !
I was very lucky to have the most fantastic support from Brett, my Boys and Family.
It was worth the every blister, every little bit of pain and all the training I went through to allow me to finish and receive my medal for completing the London Marathon 2010.
Will I do it again ?.................. NEVER !!!
Maria Corder 1st Dan.