Start line here I come

It’s fair to say that the last three weeks of training didn’t go according to plan. I pulled a muscle the week after the MK Half and was unable to do my 25k run, though this had a silver lining as Claire invited me to Southend where I had a nice 12k run up and down the seafront linking two parkrun routes, followed by a delightful visit with her and Andy, and startling friends Su and John who had actually come to visit Claire – goodness knows what they thought when I answered the door instead!

Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle during a short early morning run the day after our arrival

After that we had our wonderful holiday in America, where the injury made it impossible to do all the running we had planned, with some heavy rain not helping, although we did very much enjoy the lovely Cornerstone Lakes parkrun.

Back home I made a last trip to my wonderful physio Rosie who treated and taped the injury, and a gentle track session with the running club on Wednesday evening gave no problems.

On Saturday we went into London to go to the Expo, where you need to collect your race number and t-shirt, and can also get tempted into buying lots of things and signing up for future races! We bought some rather expensive official marathon clothing and located my name on the huge wall of names. We then went to our overnight stay at the Premier Inn in Dartford, where we had a tasty pre-marathon meal at the Beefeater, and made what final pre-race preparations we could, including pinning my number on my top

Marathon day – London prepares

Marathon day dawned cold and cloudy, which is actually quite good for a long run: I didn’t want it either too hot or too wet, though the sun soon came out, but it remained rather chilly. We had planned to get the 8.48 train from Dartford which stopped at Maze Hill, closest to my start, but somehow we got onto the 8.50 instead, which was ideal for Stephen’s travel to his first viewing point, but meant I needed to make a change. This was easily done and I arrived at Maze Hill only a bit later than planned.

Unknowingly about to board the wrong train – still not sure how that happened.

We had allowed lots of time for a slow walk up the hill to the park where the meeting point was, so I took the chance to visit the group of Portaloos at the station, as a WhatsApp group of runners in my start pen had warned of huge queues at the larger collection of loos up the hill. After this I walked up an unreasonably steep hill and was excited to spot runners from earlier starts running across my path as I arrived in the group of people waiting to get into the actual start area.

Climbing the hill from Maze Hill station (I suppose the hint is in the name)

After about 10 minutes waiting for a gap however, we were starting to get a bit fidgety, and after half an hour of this constant stream of fast runners, we were started to get concerned, as only a couple of people at a time were managing to dart across. As the published start time for my wave was now only about 15 minutes away, there was a general feeling among us that the faster runners would just have to cope, and larger and larger groups of people managed to force themselves through the crowds, and I made it across at last!

My main concern while waiting had been seeing two baggage lorries leaving the start area to go to the finish – my bag to have at the finish was supposed to go on lorry 20, so as soon as I got across into the start area I made a beeline for this final lorry to drop off the bag, followed by another loo trip. I then found my start pen and sat down for 5 minutes, at which point people started moving from the pen to the start line, so it was time to ditch the old jumper I had on for warmth (there are many charity bins in which to do this) and get ready for the off!

The medals await

While I was waiting get get underway, there was just time to check on the wonderful WhatsApp group Stephen had set up, so that he and I could update the various friends who have followed and supported me on this journey, without having to send the same update or photograph to more than a dozen people individually! There were lots of lovely messages and chatting going on, and everyone seemed to be settling in for a fun day following my progress. I’m still amazed by how much interest had been shown in what to me felt like a fairly unimportant thing – strange girl runs extremely slowly! But it was lovely to see how much people cared! There was just time to send them a selfie in the start pen before people started moving out towards the start line!

Ready to get going…

Onwards to The Marathon itself…

2 thoughts on “Start line here I come

  1. Excellent summary – your hard work in preparing was worth it in the end!

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