London Marathon Training
Week 5, Day 3
I might be a cantankerous old goat at times, but I’m also a sentimental fool who would be no stranger to having something in his eye or a lump in his throat.
And, with that in mind and currently being in London for the Winter Run 10k on Sunday, I decided to do something that I thought would be quite nice.
Basically, it’s this ….. over the course of its history the London Marathon has finished in three different locations, namely Constitution Hill, Westminster Bridge and The Mall.
So, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to go on a little run that would take in all three locations? In effect, I’ll have crossed the finish line three times in one night.
Also, with a little nod towards Sunday’s run, I thought I’d start it all off at Trafalgar Square from where I’ll be setting off at the weekend.
Despite feeling like an idiot going on the tube bedecked in my running gear and tights I set off towards the Embankment to recreate that point in the marathon that you realise, after all the heartache and pain in the months of training that preceded it, you’re going to finish this thing. You see Big Ben, you’ve got the Eye looking at you across the river, you’re going to do this!
Reaching Westminster Bridge I suddenly realised I didn’t know in what direction the race finished all those years ago when it took over from Constitution Hill, so the only thing to do was to run over one way, then loop back and go the other way, at least I’ll have crossed the finish line in the right direction regardless.
It wasn’t particularly easy to navigate, it was surprisingly dark, it was raining, quite slippy and I suddenly felt this overwhelming regret that I didn’t have little wipers on my glasses! Oh, and tourists.
But it felt quite a cool thing to be doing. I felt like a runner, I was getting nods – and returned them – from other runners. It felt good to be seen to be a part of something.
Anyway …… after Westminster Bridge, it was onto Birdcage Walk, another place I was so glad to see last time out. The end was nigh. It was to time to get the blubbing, the tears and the trembling bottom lip out of my system before composing myself for that all important last 300-odd yards.
That brought me to Buckingham Palace but instead of turning onto the Mall I ran along the front of building before taking a left onto Constitution Hill and the original finish way back in the early 80s.
Again, I wasn’t quite sure where the actual line was so I ran up to the Wellington Arch, turned and came back down again. I remember watching the first ever London Marathon on tv as a wee lad still in primary school, seeing Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen finishing in a deliberate tie, and I replayed those images in my head.
It felt like I was paying homage to the origins of an event I’ve come to love over the years, and one I still can’t believe that I’ve competed in and will be competing in again.
Returning back across the front of Buckingham Palace it was time to head onto The Mall and ‘my’ London Marathon finish.
Running down that road on April 24th 2016 having completed my first marathon is a memory that’ll always have a very special place in my heart and, returning tonight, I’ll admit to having a serious dose of goosebumps. The memories came flooding back, wave upon wave of them.
Call me silly but I felt quite contented to have done it. I didn’t do the finishes in the correct order but that didn’t matter. I had paid my own little tribute to the race and, as I did so, my thoughts also went to those that started off over the years but never survived to finish their race. A part of me was felt I was completing it for them.
A rather nice thing happened after that. This bloke stopped me to ask for directions. Whilst not a Londoner I’ve been here so many times now that I was able to help him. Then he noticed my top – I was wearing my #oneinamillion t-shirt, it felt like the right thing to run in – and started talking to me about the marathon, ending the chat by wishing me luck on Sunday.
Why is this noteworthy? It’s because something similar happened a few minutes after I had finished the real thing last year. This random tourist – a little Frenchman, a Mssr. Martin no less – stopped me and wanted his picture taken with me and my medal.
It may be only a tiny thing but an interesting coincidence none the less I think, and a nice way to end the run.
I’ll be attending the Meet The Experts Day tomorrow in Westminster. It should a great event and, I hope, hugely inspirational. Then, on Sunday, it’s the aforementioned Winter Run which I’m really looking forward to now.
If you’re still reading, well done! On a serious note, I’m running the marathon this year to raise funds for Asthma UK. If you’d like to support me I have set up a little page on Facebook that’ll keep you updated with my progress – you can find it here, and if you’d like to support me and earn yourself a medal at the same time you might be interested in my Virtual Run with all the proceeds going towards the charity.
London Marathon Training (67 miles – 17 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 18.8 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 5 – 8.6 miles (3 runs; average 2.86 miles per run)