My VLM 2010: Mark Street

After three attempts, I finally made it to the start line of the London Marathon


Posted: 27 April 2010
by Mark Street 2

Having had three attempts getting to the start line of the London Marathon (breaking my ankle eight days beforehand in 2008 and ending up with a trapped nerve in my back for three weeks in 2007), this was finally my London Marathon year.

The greatest moment was finally being at the startline. I held a bin liner for a lady old enough to be my mum, thinking she was getting changed behind it but instead she did a Paula Radcliffe special in Pen 7 with an audience. Everyone was so nervous, wet and cold. Hardly a word was spoken, there was just respect and admiration for one and all, even the Adonis guy in yellow Speedos. The crowd from the start were immense, screaming out my name for 26 miles, "Beanie, Beanie". The music all the way round was inspirational, as was the hard work of the teams at the water stations. At Tower Bridge I met Peter who has done 75 marathons. 

My worst moment was missing Support Group 7 at Mudchute as I had my head down going up the incline at that point and missed them. I was gutted and found myself running on empty - despite gels, I needed Hashettes' Jelly Babies. I crawled on through the East End banking area, saw a guy in a pink dress and caught him up to run with him.  He was interviewed on the BBC as I was running with him, so I got on the highlights show which brought my family joy. Not me though - I looked pathetic. My form had gone and I was struggling through the wall that I had read so much about.

With the help of girls in tutus offering Jelly Babies I made it. The sight of Liz Yelling (who had given me advice on training with a bad hamstring) on the Lucozade stand near the end inspired me, as did the older folk running around me. Those crowds again, Darth Vader, the crocodile of 34 who I chatted with, the fellow runners all with stories to tell. What a day! Thanks to all - I'm so glad I finally made it to the start.

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