I'd always said "no way" to 26.2 miles but this was one awesome, fantastic and memorable day!
Its great to see how many first-time marathoners were running the Virgin London Marathon. I was one too. A guy who at 58 has only been running two years, prior to which I'd been a couch potato for 20 years! Even when my girls got me running and I got into half- marathons, I'd always said "no way" to 26.2 miles.
And then I won a place in the Sweatshop/Adidas draw when I never win anything, and my daughters who always win things didn't get in. Imagine the shock!
Training had gone pretty well - two half-marathons, two 18-milers, a 20-miler and a 21-miler - except for falling on the towpath of the River Medway two weeks before the marathon. I damaged my ribs and almost went over the edge - I was only saved from going into the river by a large bramble bush and my daughter grabbing my arm! But then, three days before Sunday I went down with the heaviest cold I've had for years...
So, with all thoughts of a 4:30 finish out of the window, I decided to simply enjoy myself. And I had a ball! What a fantastic time! I interacted with the crowds, stopped and chatted, high-fived the kids - it was such a festival atmosphere I never, ever expected to enjoy it so much. I got round in 5:59.45, but that was fine, because I'd enjoyed my best day since my daughter's wedding two years previously. Fantastic! Roll on the ballot on Tuesday - they'd jolly well better give me a place!
Lows? No energy gels when I got to the gel stations.
Most memorable moment? Passing a row of guys having a pee in bushes then catching a glimpse through a gap of a row of bare ladies' bottoms!
Most angry moment? All those bottles of water and energy drink wasted on the ground - that really annoyed me.
Best moments of all? Doing it; my supporters; the crowd support; the support from Macmillan Cancer Support crossing the line; getting my medal; and seeing my wife! Oh yes, and being able to eat donuts and chocolate again (at least for a few weeks)!