My 2005 London Marathon

How was it for you? - Quotes and pictures from London 05


Posted: 19 April 2005

5 HOURS+ (Page 4) Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
First time Grandpa, 5:35:37

My preparation for my first London marathon was far from ideal - only 3 hours sleep due to my stepdaughter Kirsty going into labour with my first grandchild. I had driven my wife to Vauxhall to be with her and wish her well.

I got back home at about 4:45 a.m. but couldn't sleep with all the excitement. I had just run through Canary Wharf when the news came through via my wife and mobile phone that my beautiful granddaughter Keira was born at 1:07 p.m. weighing in at 7 lbs 9 ozs. I ran the next 200 yards to the next bank of portaloos, queued up and then burst into tears when I got inside. I burst into tears again as I crossed the finishing line, and again in the closest portaloo.

I never thought I'd cry in a portaloo, let alone two in the same afternoon...

Little Vixen, 6:27:11

What a FAB day! It was my very first marathon and I had a blast. Very nervous beforehand, but the crowd were superb and I practically sprinted the last 3 miles. the final push down the Mall was awesome!

Lowest moment - at 12 miles, steadily running....thinking I was doing ok...and getting overtaken by a Cornish Pastie!! Oh the embarrassment........!

Best Moment-you mean I have to try and distinguish the best bit? All of it!

What did I learn? That I CAN do it, and that pacing myself and aiming to complete it safely was the best thing I could have done. Savouring the crowds, the atmosphere but, most of all, the other wonderful runners made the experience one to be treasured forever.

Can I do it again please? !!

Sarah Ficken, 5:36

I was shaking with nerves and excitement as I waited at Epping station at 7 o'clock on Sunday morning for the tube, dressed in my running kit. Very soon all the runners were sitting together on the train, talking about the day ahead of us and sharing tips. We had the marathon in common and therefore an instant bond - many of the guys had run a few marathons before, and so I was sitting listening intently to their experiences.

The atmosphere was electric as we walked through the streets to Greenwich Park and the Red start; runners as far as you could see. After handing in our kit bags, having a quick stretch and a nervous wee we headed for the start!

I cannot even try to explain the feeling of waiting amongst 15,000 other runners waiting for the gun to go off. Runners, young and old with varying backgrounds all attempting this giant feat for very personal reasons... the excitement was amazing. Many had photos on their running kit of deceased loved ones who were clearly their inspiration; others were dressed as rhinos or Homer Simpson; some had false limbs and some were even half naked!!!!

It took me 10 minutes to cross the start line, to be greeted by crowds of wellwishers lining the streets. The first few miles were pretty uneventful, just getting into a pace, but it was impossible to go any faster than the crowd until we joined with the runners from the other starts and gradually things started to space out a little.

It was such a hot day, and the heat made it a little difficult for me to feel comfortable throughout the run, and I knew quite early on that I wasn’t going to hit my target of running under 4:30.

Running past the Cutty Sark and over the Tower Bridge were real highlights for me, the crowds were shouting loudly – I thought I might get on the TV as Sally Gunnell interviewed a man in front of me who was running whilst juggling!!!

To be honest, the rest of the run was a bit of a blur. I was upset with myself that I started to walk at a couple of points, before pulling myself together and running on, but it was just so tough to keep going at points.

The marathon really provokes extreme emotions, and I found myself close to tears on a number of occasions. The crowd were so kind and encouraging, and offered such kind words of encouragement I was moved to tears a couple of times. I was also really sad by about mile 16 that my parents and husband were not there to share this achievement with me - so it was a wonderful surprise to see my friend and their son at 17.5 miles!

Miles 19-23 were the toughest and the despair and the pain were the worst I have ever felt. Had you asked me then, I would have said Sunday was the worst day of my life, and was close to crying by the side of the pavement and giving up.

The thought of my son Josh’s words that morning (“ Mum, when I next see you, you will be a hero”) and the thought of missing out on a medal kept me going.

I met up with a guy at 23 miles, who was in a similar state as me and we agreed to run the last few miles together. He was great, had a bone marrow transplant a few years ago and dreamed of running the marathon. We inspired each other to finish in style and ran for the finish. The last mile was the longest I have ever run, and the relief at seeing the finish line was immense. The crowds in the mall were amazing, and were cheering me on as enthusiastically as I am sure they cheered Paula on.

Crossing the line I burst into tears (again!!!) at the relief of finishing, and the sheer enormity of my achievement, my time wasn’t the greatest... but I did it. Blubbed again when I received the medal and the rest to be honest is a bit of a blur.

So there we go, I am sitting here actually wearing my medal at work, feeling a real range of mixed emotions about the whole thing. A great day, and a hard run but worth every step. I know you will all say I am daft if I say that it was also a bit of a disappointment that I walked for a short while and that my time was slower than I predicted.

The marathon taught me that I can do anything that I put my mind to, and that I can inspire people by my actions. It was a really wonderful journey and a wonderful first marathon, and I am thinking about trying again next year to improve on my performance.

Mandy Smith, 5:58:33

I had the best day ever and my legs are already recovering two days later!!

Best moment was seeing my friends and family just before Tower Bridge the first time and they were all waving banners someone had made and then seeing them again the second time past the Bridge was just the encouragement I needed to keep me going. And raising £2000+ for my charity.

Worst moment was getting cramp in my left thigh at 14 miles - but I kept on going!! Also, feeling sick in the limo I had hired to get us all home. I could only manage a lemonade and had to look out the window for the entire journey!!

The biggest surprise was the fact I didn't stop (except to sort out the cramp and a blister) until 23 miles - what wall??? Got going again at 25 miles til the end though.

Next year I'm going to lose the extra 2 stone I'm carrying and beat my PB (not difficult seeing as this was my first marathon).

Key to success was to keep telling myself that if I stopped I wouldn't finish in under 6 hours (see finish time).

I learned that I should have started running before January, it would have been easier on the day.

Deb, 5:34

The best marathon in the world!! Wow - what a day and an experience!! And amazingly still in one piece (well minus 2 toenails). I wasn't sure if I was going to get through the training, let alone the day, due to a problem with my IT band, but thanks to plenty of massage and good advice from others on the RW forum, I was there at the start with 35,000 other heroes and finished in 5 hours 34...

The whole day was fantastic, no grumbles, and if I were to try to put the experience in to one sentence I think it would be:

'The crowds of supporters and fellow runners really restores your faith in humanity.'

A huge THANK YOU to everybody who called my name and helped me finish one of my hardest challenges and fulfil a dream!

Kans & Kandy, 6:52

I was running as Mr Tickle for Children With Leukemia; the crowds were absolute fantastic.

Best moments – I couldn't fit in the Portaloo so a beautiful young policewoman helped to hold Mr Tickle while I had a tiddle at about 19 miles... and catching up with my wonderful wife at about 21 miles – Pippa you are the best!

Worst moment – I frightened a little girl when I tried to tickle her (well-meaningly, obviously!)

Benito, 5:15

It was getting warmer. I felt okay until about 18 miles and then I started to lag. This was the dreaded 'wall', I thought and kept telling myself that it was normal. I felt better(ish) by 20-21 miles, but soon after I was properly struggling.... if what I had gone through earlier was the wall, then this was 'the dam!'

From then on it was a total mind game with myself. I knew I had done all the training, I thought I was taking in enough water, and so there was (I thought) no reason to stop or rest....so I plodded on. I felt a bit bad - I was poor company for my friend who was loyally staying with me, and I was probably holding him up quite a bit.

It was a constant mileage countdown in my head and I don't really remember too much from 21-25.5 miles other than my mate encouraging me and making sure I was okay, which really helped. My vision was slowly getting shakier and my arms and legs were getting wobbly. I remember grabbing his arm, and then I came round in an ambulance!!! I had done the unthinkable and collapsed.

90 minutes, loads of water, a massage and 4 thermometer readings later and I was good to go again!...s o I hobbled the last half mile or so - job done!! The ambulance guys said that my temperature was 40.9 and if it had got any higher they would have carted me off to hospital, so looking back I was glad to be given the chance to complete it. I did 25.5 miles in 3h 45, and the final half-mile or so took me over 1h 30!!

Things I've learnt: don't trust the pesky weathermen, drink like a fish, and there's no shame in stopping for a rest to avoid collapse!!! It was an experience, I'll put it that way, but do it again?....never!....well, not next year anyway.

gritech, 5:47:27

What was the best moment? Managing to see my wife, friends and the kids waving a banner with "Go Dad Go ..Run Gary Run" on it at several points.

And the worst moments? The first was reaching water stations that had run out of water. Then at mile 21 trying to convince myself to keep running as there were only 5 miles to go - at which point everything went black for a split second and then everything came back and I was still running.

Having seen two other runners collapsed by the side of the road I decided to give up my goal of running all the way and went into survival mode. I walked most the last miles, but ran the last 0.2 over the line.

The most memorable moments? The crowds, supporters shouting encouragement, a blues band playing outside a pub... I nearly stopped there! Rhino Kev and Andy whom I seemed to be running with a lot.

What would I do differently? Not listen to weather reports, and pack a hat, suntan cream etc - and make sure I'd got some emergency water.

And what was the key to my finish? Not giving up.

Jo Phillips, 5:09:56

Best moment: Seeing everyone doing the YMCA between mile 4-5 - what a sight!! Smiling for the first two hours because I was having such a good time! The crowds were fantastic - how lovely some people can be!!

Worst moment: Getting to Mile 20 and realising I still had 6 miles to go with the most agonising bum cramp! Also, some idiot from the crowd throwing empty water bottles at the runners between mile 3-6! There's always one!!

Most surprising moment: Realising that I felt good between mile 13 and 20 and that I was actually doing a marathon. As it was my first one and I had run no further than 13 miles beforehand, I was surprised how well I did and how little I had to walk!

I had the most amazing day and I loved every second of it (even the painful bum cramp!!). Before Sunday, I said this would be my first and last marathon, but now I'm looking forward to the next one!

Niki Baldwin, 6:20

This was my first marathon. What a fantastic experience! I struggled by the 16-mile mark (shouldn't have started so quickly!!) and hated the Docklands stretch. At the 21-mile marker, my knees refused to go the way I wanted them to, much to the amusement of large group of supporters. One guy just yelled "come on Niki, you can do it, you can run in a straight line". Funny: I thought I was...

My best moment was realising I could finish. I managed to get my act together by the 23-mile marker and ran, walked , and crawled to St. James's Park. The crowds were truly amazing and so supportive - they really do make all the difference.

On a selfish note, my real best moment was seeing my mum as I crossed the finish line. She was yelling my name to all and sundry and crying out "that's my daughter, she's just run 26 miles". In that moment, as I waved my medal at her, all the pain and the odd swear word was truly worth it.

Would I do it again? Too damn right.

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