Last Sunday, April 22, it was the London marathon. This is always an exciting event with lots going on! You have the elite men and women running, the childrens marathon, wheelchair marathon and then the fun runners. Although they are called 'fun' runners a hell of a lot of these people run to raise money and awareness for charity. This year was the first time I had been up to watch the marathon and cheer on the runners, this was because I knew two people running for two different hospices; Saint Luke's and Saint Claire's.
I went with my mum and my boyfriend, Arran. We arrived at Limehouse station at about 10.30, we were meant to be meeting friends but weren't sure how to get to where they were so while we tried to get in touch with them we followed a group of people to the nearest spot where you could see the runners go past, I think it was about the 11 mile mark, here we saw the leading elite male runner go past and everyone was cheering and shouting encouragement, it was a lovely atmosphere. Several other of the male elite runners past and a couple of elite wheelchair racers. It was so exciting watching these top athletes pass by and the support from the smallish crowd there was brilliant!
We found out how to get to where our friends were and made our way over, following the route the runners were taking, passing the 20/21 mile zones, so we could cheer any going past, we saw a few of the elite women along the way. As the fun runners had been running just under an hour at this point there weren't too many spectators around in this area, so we had fantasic views. Though there weren't masses of people, everyone there was enthusiastic with their praise and encouragement for anyone taking part who past.
We met up with our friends at the 14 mile mark which was on the other side of the road to the 21 mile mark. We went under the subway and stayed with them until their friend passed and then they went to the other side to see them at 21 miles. While we were with them Greg James from Radio 1 passed and my mum and her friend Sarah shouted 'Go on Greg!' and he said hello and thank you as he ran passed which made my mum very happy!
Our friend Chris was running for Saint Luke's hospice, where he and my mum work. We saw he was approaching and starting cheering wildly and shouting his name, he came over and said hello before carrying on his journey. We started slowly making our way back to the subway to see if we could see our other friend Adam but we didn't and found out later we had missed him pass! It was fanastic watching all the runners, they were all awesome, the ones who dress up in crazy costumes or who add even more challenge on to the 26.2 mile run (as if they weren't doing enough!) by kicking a football the whole way or dribbling a hockey ball with a hockey stick! (we saw people doing both these things!) must be mad as well as incredibly brave! We saw a few people dressed as rhinos for Save the Rhino, Wombles, beer bottles and a whole manner or other things, even Big Ben! It makes you really appreciate how many charities are out there doing amazing work for all sorts of causes!
Once we had crossed back under the subway we met up with our friends again briefly until once again their friends ran past and then they went off to meet them once they'd finished. We decided to move down to the 20 mile point as there was a better view and luckily saw Adam, who was running for Saint Claire's Hospice, pass as we were on our way! We cheered him lots and then carried on to see Chris again. We had to wait a little while but round he came and we gave him lots of encouragement to make it to the end!
Chris at 20 miles!
We decided not to go to the finish as it was mobbed and we probably wouldn't make it in time for him to finish as we'd have to make it back to the tube, get there and then find them so we started to make our way home instead. Amazingly we bumped into one of Arran's band mates and other of our friends on the way and stayed with them for a little while before finally going home.
We had a really fantastic day, though our voices hurt from cheering and our hands stung from clapping so much! We managed to see both our friends running and that was the main thing but it was so good cheering on all the people we didn't know as well and seeing them do this amazing feat for charity or their own personal reasons was so admirable it's hard to take in.
Adam ran it in 4 hours and 24 minutes and Chris in 5 hours 28 minutes, we are so proud of both of them for achieving this amazing goal! I am in awe of them not only running a marathon, 26.2 miles but also for doing it to raise money for such wonderful causes! Well done boys, you did yourselves and everyone else proud!
Adam at the start!
I would like to finish this post with my most heartfelt condolences to Claire Squires family and friends. Claire was the young lady who tragically died running in the 2012 marathon. She was a mere 30 years old and running for The Samaritans in memory of her brother. She wanted to raise just £500 and when I last checked had reached an astonishing £893,268.74, if you would like to donate to the Samaritans in her memory this is a link to her justgiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Claire-Squires2. By people donating so generously, Claire has achieved unknowingly great awareness and support for the Samaritans who I believe are talking with her family to determine how she would most have liked the money to be spent for their cause.
So once again a fantastic well done to everyone who ran, whatever your reason and I hope you Rest in Peace Claire.