The London Marathon has been running since the year I was born in 1981. Each year it’s something that I flick the TV on to watch, leaving it on in the background as the race progresses from start to finish.
This year, I had the privilege of watching the race in London as my wife was running for charity. I say privilege as this is what it is – the chance to see 40,000 people putting their all in a single run, having trained for months previously, raising money for worthwhile causes and achieving their own personal goals.
We left early on the Saturday, taking a coach up to London arranged by local running club, Poole Runners. An excellently organised affair; the coach dropped us off at our hotel (which was directly on the marathon route), took the runners to the start line on the Sunday morning and picked us up from the finish at the end.
So after a nice catch up with family at Jamie Oliver’s Piccadilly restaurant we took the underground back to our hotel, ready for the activities of the following day.
My wife (Jem) said goodbye at 7am, creeping out and down to the waiting coach in the early morning chill. My son and I on the other hand had a leisurely breakfast and watched the wheelchair and women’s races begin on TV, before heading downstairs and out into the marathon atmosphere. Stepping out of the doors we were hit with a wall of sound, from the Caribbean band playing outside the hotel, the thumping party music blaring from speakers around the corner and an endless line of supporters leaning over barriers to waiting for the first athletes to approach – all bathed in sunlight and blue skies.
Our spot really was great, allowing us to see the race pass us one way at 14 miles and coming back on the other side of the road at 21 miles.
My son (5 years old) was asking where Mo Farah was every 2 minutes and so we were both jumping excitedly when the Olympic and World double champion approached and sped past. And I mean sped. The guy ran past us faster than I would do 400 metres. He did the first 5km of the race in under 15 minutes and the first 10k in under 30m. Incredible!
An Amazing Achievement
The London Marathon website lets you track any athlete’s progress at every 5km, so it was to my phone that my eye’s kept glancing nervously to, to see how Jem was getting on. We were standing at about 22k so I watched her move from checkpoint to checkpoint until there she was, right in front of us waving away. When Jem passed us at 21 miles, she was STILL smiling and gave a little wave. Apparently it got tough just after that, but she finished in 3 hours 51 minutes. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING
When Mo came running back past us at 21 miles and I was a little surprised to see someone who does our local Parkrun follow swiftly behind – 8 minutes behind Mo! Steve Way was then the first ‘amateur’ to finish – amazing!
Ice-creams followed before finding our way to the coach for the trip home.
Entries open for the London Marathon 2015 on April 22nd and I may just enter….