Monday, 22 April 2013

London Marathon 2013

So yesterday was the glorious event of the London Marathon, a wonderful day in the British calendar and even more poignant this year after the tragic events in Boston on Monday. It was very humbling seeing all the runners with their black ribbons and lots of banners of support for everyone affected by the dreadful bombings. It would have been easy for runners and supporters alike to be put off but it only seemed to spur them on and show the people of Boston they are firmly in our thoughts and we wish them well.
Last year was my first time attending as I knew a couple of people running and went to support them and I have to admit I was hooked from the off! It's incredible! I've watched it on tv at home every year since I was little as my cousins husband did it several times when they lived in the UK and we always tried to spot him. I always enjoyed watching it but never appreciated the mammoth task the people participating were taking on or the importance of the crowd and their support. Like I say last year was my first taste of the true spirit of the London Marathon and all the wonderful people who take part. However I was new and didn't understand too well getting to the different mile points easily or where the best spots were, also I was with 2 other novices which didn't help! Although we had a great day, this year we had an amazing day! 
Myself and Arran set off from his house in East London and made our way to Westferry where we were meeting our friends. They go every year and know all the best places to go, where there are lots of places to get drinks/use the facilities but it's not quite so crowded as the main hotspots, which let me tell you after last year really did make a nice contrast! There was a big group of us all excited to support our friend Jack and his mum Kay. Fortunately with there being so many of us it was easy for at least one of us to spot them far enough in advance to get our cameras and cheers ready for their approach (some friends of mine weren't so lucky with spotting their friend as they were a small group and her tracker had stopped working). We were waiting for them at the 14 mile mark, a difficult point just over half way, where you have come so far yet still have so much further to go. Jack came through first thankfully looking very happy and with no sign of tiredness or injury (always a bonus!)
 Jack at 14 miles

He made a quick stop to rearrange a shoe and then he was off again, followed about half an hour later by his mum, who also didn't seem to have a care in the world, by the look of her you'd have thought she'd have just run to the local shop and back never mind 14 miles! 
 Kay with her husband Kev at 14 miles

After waving her off again we made the short walk to the 21 mile mark, cutting through various side streets (if only it were so easy for the runners!) and found another pub to make our base 'til they came round again.
We had a little wait but were enjoying the atmosphere and cheering on the other runners and I spotted my favourite costume of the day too!

I cannot imagine how hard it must be to run 26.2 miles in shorts and a vest, nevermind in a massive furry costume! I have no idea who this is or even their gender but they have my utmost respect for going above and beyond in the name of charity! 

We spotted Jack at 21 miles unfortunately looking much worse than 7 miles earlier, he was clearly sporting a knee injury and was finding it all much more of a struggle, but struggle he on he did! He paused very briefly to acknowledge us before carrying on, we later found out he had been seen by St. John's ambulance 2 miles earlier and they had suggested it best for him to stop to save further injurying his damaged knee, he wasn't going to get 7 miles shy of the finish just to drop out though! 
Kay was much more fortunate and like earlier seemed completely untroubled, she stopped long enough so say hello and steal a mouthful of beer and then was once again on her way. 

Shortly after this our band of supporters made our way to Walkabout in Temple where we would be meeting them later when they had both finished and the drinks and laughs continued to flow. At around half past 5, once they had both finished and rested a while, our amazing friends joined us and were celebrated like heroes! Jack had done it in a slower time than he had planned or hoped in around 5 and a quarter hours due to his injured knee, but was elated to have completed the run, something a few months ago he was not convinced would happen. Kay made it on around 6 hours and was overjoyed! I asked her after if she had enjoyed it and she responded, 'It was amazing, I'm so pleased to have done it but I wouldn't do it again!' We spent the rest of the evening joyful, our moods all even further uplifted by our friends amazing achievements! 
We all had a brilliant day and Jack and Kay raised lots of money for Whizz Kids and accomplished something I don't think either of them ever thought they would do.

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