FLM was a two-day event for me, and having spent most of Saturday at the
Expo meeting as many friends as possible, keeping a special look-out for the
runners who were allocated to Team 6, I was worn out before the big day.
I slept very badly that night and woke up feeling sick. I'm never this anxious
before a race that I'm taking part in.
So many doubts . . what if somebody else pinched our spot at Mudchute? What
if I forgot one of the drinks some of the runners had asked me to have ready
for them? What if I missed one of the runners and they didn't perform as
well as they hoped because of it? What if I missed the train? What if the
number 6 sign I'd planned (which needed putting together at Mudchute) didn't
work and nobody could find us? What if . . . what if . . ?
Well, I've never been half an hour early for a train before, but I was on
Sunday. Two stops down the line, Meldy got on and I started to relax. We made
it to Mudchute and I needn't have worried: the place was our thanks to the
It was great fun getting everything set up, saying hi to everyone, greeting old
friends and meeting new ones. The forum is just such a wonderful bunch of
people of all ages and backgrounds who all seem to be there for one another.
It seemed that the weather forecast was wrong - it was a lovely day for
spectating, but I bet it made it tough to run.
Pretty soon, Paula whizzed past and slowly the road began to fill up with
runners. The first three forumites that I identified were first LinC, and then
the wonderful sight of Hilly and Ratcatcher running side by side with the
biggest smiles on their faces.
The clock ticked on and soon it was time to get stuff ready for "our"
runners. By this time, the road was just a river of lycra as hundreds and
hundreds of runners flowed by in a seemingly endless wave.
Gradually our runners came by . . some not even breaking stride as they
kept up with their demanding schedule but still able to smile and wave as we
cheered them on. Some stopped for a moment or two and took whatever it was
they'd asked us for.
Trinity almost went past us but I just called out her name in time . . this
was critical as she planned to leave an empty bottle with us and continue
with a full one.
Slowlegs surprised us all by approaching us from behind . . having run past
us, she than worked her way back up the rear of the supporting groups until
she located us.
Essex stopped and had a little natter . . she was about 5 minutes early and
had a big smile on her face.
DawnM had pain written all over her face but in seconds it was transformed
into a big smile as she saw us . . big hugs from Tigerrunner, me and
Legless and she went off with her Ribena and jelly babies and her resolve
renewed . .
So many names, so many different reactions and yet all with one ambition . .
to conquer the heat, the distance, the crowd, the anguish and their bodies.
It was great to see them all and a privilege to be a small part of their big
day. I found it tough watching and wanted to run alongside everybody for a
mile or so. Just to spur them on, to give their mind something else to think
about apart from "why is my body doing this to me?"
And then suddenly the wave of runners became a trickle and next thing they'd
almost all gone. And the supporters had drifted off too . . either to go
home or to get to the finish area and meet friends or family who had run.
And so it was time to take the balloons and the signs down and tidy up a bit
. . and get to the Thistle for some welcome refreshment.
In a few words . . anxiety . . wonderful friendship . . lots of lovely hugs
from lots of lovely ladies . . and a real sense of having helped others
(some who I've known for more years than I care to acknowledge, and others
who I'd never heard of until a few days beforehand) achieve something that
mattered. You were all fantastic. Thank you for letting me be part of it.