In short: Fab-u-lous atmosphere! In full: This was my 3rd (and last) London Marathon, and my 4th over all, and although I had been pretty laid back throughout my training I thoroughly enjoyed it on the day - narrowly missed a PB but set a new club record.
The content of the goody bag has declined over the years and, yes, the t-shirt is way, way, way too large for most people. Why should the majority of entrants have to put up with an over-sized shirt because just a few people want/need this size?
Another gripe is runner etiquette. Belonging to a club means I participate in quite a few race events during the year and so I know that: a) You don’t suddenly stop in the middle of the course, causing the runners immediately behind you take evasive action or run into you, b) You don’t walk on the racing line (the three blue lines) while chatting to your mates on your mobile, and c) You arrive at your start point in plenty of time to queue for the toilets/urinals so as not to have to resort to exposing yourself to small children just minutes after the race has started.
I was also saddened when my friend repeated a conversation she had overheard between two men, one of whom was boasting to his mate that the furthest he had managed to run was 10 miles. It made a complete mockery of the 17 weeks I had spent training; 5 days a week; 3 x 20 mile runs etc. etc. It really makes my blood boil, because many of my fellow club mates would have loved to have run on Sunday and yet this man, who (it seems) couldn’t be bothered to put the effort into his training, had taken a valuable place from someone who would. I truly believe that the allocation of places needs a complete review i.e. give priority to those who are committed to the training and not to those who think that they can run a marathon after just a few weeks of training.
Okay, rant over.
Once again superb organisation, amazing marshalls (especially those down the road with the speed humps - made me giggle), St John’s were wonderful (what they had to contend with ...) and the crowd ... well, what can I say ... they were fab-u-lous! Date of review: April 24, 2012
In short: Feel like a star! In full: If you've never run a race before.. At mile 24 Your legs will be sore But the crowd will roar And your spirit will sore. Though you find it hard You'll make those final yards And over the line In a fantastic time. Being cheered on all the way You feel like a star for the day! Wear your medal on the bus And everyone will make a fuss. Not always great for pace, But definitely the best race. :-) Love it! ps dress up as a cat and you'll get wolf-whistled at ;-)
In short: Fantastic as a first timer In full: The day was well organised with trains to the start, good start areas and getting ove the start in the red zone good (didnt feel that stop start to me). Enjoyed passing the rhinos and cookie monsters!
The marshalling, water stops and crowd made the race. Could have asked for more generous support. I thought it was quite funny the folk with bbq's making a day of it! Thoroughly enjoyed my first marathon, and first London. Finish line was great and I even made the BBC red button coverage - so my gran says.
The crush after the finish was a bit overwhelming, but i found everyone in the end. My t-shirt is good, bit big but hey, I'm still gonne wear it and tell the world "I Finished VLM 2012!" Date of review: April 24, 2012
In short: My first 'must repeat' race. In full: All I can say is that I loved it and will treasure this first time. Everyone warned me that it would be great as an event, and a few warned me it would be addictive. They were all right. Date of review: April 24, 2012
In short: great race -unforgettable experience! In full: Well done London - probably the best marathon in the world! 9th time and the novelty has not worn off! Great organisation for such a huge event!Baggage handlers were fantastic! Well done Swanley! My bag was ready for me before I had even reached my lorry! Superb! Only real complaint- just too congested on the whole course! easy solution -stagger the 2 mass starts and set them off an hour appart and the field would spread out better over the course! Water bottles could be smaller as most runners seem to throw them after a few sips and they are are real hazard on the course. Stations every 2 or even 3 miles would probably be adequate as runners would then use all the water in their bottles before throwing them away! Liked the tshirt but too big for many people- sizing them would make the event even better. Overall fantastic event! - back next year! Date of review: April 24, 2012
In short: One of running's truly great experiences - are you really going to complain about a t-shirt?! In full: Having watched the race so many times, I felt incredibly lucky to be actually taking part in my first marathon in London in Olympic year.
The first mile-or-so from the blue pen was very stop/start, but once that cleared I found it fairly easy to get into my rhythm and maintain a steady pace.
The scenery is actually quite dull for large swathes of the run, but to be honest I didn't really notice as I was swept up in the atmosphere. In any case, it was all worth it for moments like rounding Cutty Sark or turning the corner to see Tower Bridge.
The support pretty much all the way around was phenomenal and was responsible for me finishing the race despite my knee caving in at 14 miles. It seemed like every person in London was personally willing me to finish. The encouragement from the youngsters at the water stops was equally inspirational, especially considering how long they must have stood there on race day.
I find it very hard to believe that anyone would take part in this run and then make complaining about the size and quality of the finishers' t-shirt their priority. I actually think it's quite nice, but even if I didn't I wouldn't let it colour my enjoyment of one of sport's great events. I suppose some people just like to complain.
All in all, VLM 2012 will live long in my memory and I'll be back on the course in 2013 whether it's as a runner or a spectator. Date of review: April 24, 2012