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What was the best moment: Turning a corner and being confronted with the awesome sight of thousands of runners crossing Tower Bridge.
And the worst moment was the severe cramp in my calf at mile 8-9 and the runners who thought it a good idea to be on their mobile phones whilst not watching where they were going.
The biggest surprise, or the most memorable moment: the sheer number of supporters on London's streets.
What I would do differently: I would train harder and put in longer runs... 15 miles was my longest training run!
|Dottie Lottie, 5:46|
I was quite hacked off with my finish time - 5:46 - but thrilled to have got to the end...
Best moment: sprinting down the Mall, surrounded by cheers...
Worst moment: realising that my legs were going at 13 miles, due to not being able to stock up on carbs. Damn tummy bug! Scary, though...
What I've learnt: running without your training partner is hard, but mental strength can get you through. I want to do it next year - just to prove to myself that I can go faster!
My best moment was crossing the Tower of London - at least then I knew I was on the same side of London as the finishing line.
My worst moment was having to say good-bye at mile 16 to my new running partner Julie from Blackpool, whom I met on the start line.
My biggest surprise was seeing my friends and family pop up again, and again, and again - I think they must have covered nearly 26.2 miles too! They, as well as the rest of the crowd, were fantastic.
The thing I will always remember were those wonderful showers - I went through every single one!
This was my first marathon and I don't think it will ever be beaten as one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was worth every early Sunday morning training run just to take part!
I would like to apologise now for my rather dodgy dance routine down the Mall as I sang, danced and waved my arms along to "what have you done today to make you feel proud". At that point, I was fit to burst with pride and I felt like a winner (and to be honest I think we all are).
|Ann Burgess, 5:16:48|
It's Tuesday: my legs are aching and my neck is burnt. I'm feeling very pleased with myself though, having finished my first-ever marathon in 5:16.
It was one of the best days of my life! The crowds were truly amazing, cheering words of support throughout the entire race. Fellow runners were helpful and supportive; many were inspiring, and some were simply hilarious, dressed in crazy costumes!
I felt overwhelmed at a quite a few points during the day, but the most memorable ones were
I will never forget my first marathon... the crowds, the support, the encouragement, the street entertainment, the sights, the runners, my family and friends, the finish line, my medal, and the pain and joy!
Thank you RUNNERS WORLD for your fantastic website! Thank you fellow runners for your support and good sense of humour!
I would love to run next year's marathon, but for the moment, I'm concentrating on learning how to walk again!
|Kusum Sharma, 5:11|
As a first-time runner, I was so impressed with the whole organisation. The five hours and 11 minutes worth of running was a bit too hot, but the crowds really were the ultimate in helping me through. I would definitely recommend any future runners to have their names on their T-shirts.
The 800m to go mark was like an 'oh my God' moment, and the best bit really was getting to the halfway mark at Tower Bridge where I finally realised what a huge achievement this was going to be both personally and in terms of the money raised for CLIC.
|An Coppens, 6:07|
I am so disappointed to have done a lot worse time-wise than I did last year. My preparation was better (even though I had a virus problem that took me off the road for 3 weeks about 6 weeks ago), I had no asthma problems (which troubled me badly last year), and the weather was so much better, etc. It beats me totally....
Yes, I did finish in 6:07, the time to beat was 5:44. I enjoyed the experience more, ran better, had a plan and only a toilet queue upset that plan...It's a marathon miracle.
|Julia Williams, 5:28:08|
The weekend was brilliant right from the start: my twin and her husband arrived in the afternoon. It was really exciting packing our kit bags and planning over the phone with various family members where we would all meet up.
We got to Greenwich around 8ish, the sun already shining, though there had been a frost. Then I made a big mistake. Because we had forgotten the water, we needed to get a drink, but we didn't have quite as much time as I had hoped, and I needed the loo. So Gin went off to get drinks, and I queued for the loo - only we missed each other. And spent the last 45 minutes before the race started trying to find one another again.
I was absolutely hysterical, as Ginia has been my rock throughout this, and I couldn't conceive of starting the race without her. She didn't have a mobile, but I did - and eventually I got a message to say that she was at the pagola, which I dismally failed to find. Eventually, they were calling everyone to the start, so I just went to line up and miraculously there she was. So I promptly burst into tears in an emotional start to a very emotional day all round.
It took us 10 minutes to cross the line, and the atmosphere from the off was fantastic. People clapped and cheered, they played music, and we really felt we were part of something amazing. We walked for the first mile and then started running. I was desperate for a drink, which we got around mile three, but then I was equally desperate for the loo. Ginia had the bright idea of using a pub as the loos en route were so busy, and then we were off again. This being Sarf London, children lined the route offering high fives as we went - and there were families partying in their gardens from the looks of things.
Loads of the pubs had parties in them too, with bands or music playing. "Show Me the Way to Amarillo" was a constant theme and pretty good to run to! Unfortunately with the heat and the speed we ran to start with it all got a bit much for Gin, so she told me to go on at the five mile point and she would catch up. I felt OK and carried on, but I stopped for a while to go to the loo (this time there were some convenient bushes!), but she didn't come along so I carried on. Got to the Cutty Sark and felt really great, as I knew that was the seven mile point.
The next three miles to the 10-mile point were slow and steady, but I was pleased to do it in 2 hours - which was better then my training time. I then found I was running along a bit I had run when I did the Flora 10k about 12 years ago, which was great as its always easier to run when you know the way.
It seemed as though I had got to Tower Bridge in no time - and there was a subtle change of atmosphere - the cheering was louder and the crowds larger. It was a great psychological boost particularly as the halfway mark seemed a bit longer coming than I had hoped. I eventually reached it at 2hrs 36 - again better than my training, so I rang my mum who was at home looking after the little ones, which was another emotional moment!
Just after that I stopped to put plasters on my blisters, which had started a mile or two earlier. I had thought I could run through the pain, but then remembered that the advice was to get plasters on as soon as possible, which I did and it helped enormously. Though starting again was quite hard.
I then lost the plot a bit as Westferry road is extremely long, and I missed seeing the 15-mile mark. I was somewhat surprised to come across the cheering site set up by my charity.
"Where am I?" I said in confusion. They told me I was near mile 16, which gave me another boost as I was further then I thought. I was about to run on, when I suddenly realised they were all shouting at me to look across the road, and there was my sister Lucy waiting for me. Yet another emotional moment.
"Luce, I love you," I yelled, giving her a quick hug and babbling incoherently, before running on. Dave and the others were by Mudchute station, which seemed an unconscionable time coming, but I got there in the end. I spotted Chris first, and then saw Dave. The children were all sitting on the pavement, and I high-fived them all, kissed my lovely husband, hugged my bil, bro and sis, and was on my way again. I was probably still babbling incoherently, but it was fantastic to see them. When I got to mile 18, Dave rang to say that Gin had just made it to mile 16, which was a relief as I was getting a bit worried that she might have pulled out.
Mile 18 was my third five-mile break, so I did my walking bit, drinking my Lucozade Sport and eating my raisins. Starting up again was very hard, and this was the toughest bit without a doubt, as it was the five miles I hadn't done in training. Every mile seemed to take forever, and getting round Canary Wharf seemed endless, although there was one point when the crowds really geed me on - added to which I knew I had 8 miles to go till I saw everyone again. I did run, but at a really plodding pace, and by now had started to catch lots of people walking. The fact that I was still running kept me going - suddenly I understood the phrase digging deep. It was a bit like when you're in labour - I went somewhere very deep inside myself and wasn't aware of anything else but just putting one foot in front of the other.
The miles seemed to pass much more slowly, particularly after I had got to 21 miles. I kept thinking I must be near the 22 mile point,but it never seemed to come. This was the only place I contemplated stopping (Paula's collapse at that point in the Athens marathon last year seems all too believable), but I staggered on, and suddenly miraculously there was the Tower of London. I grabbed a drink, did my walking routine, ran again for a bit, found some loos under Blackfriars Bridge, and then ran off with renewed vigour out to the 24 mile mark.
From that point on, I can honestly say the whole thing became incredibly enjoyable. The crowds clapped and cheered all he way, and I seemed to be running faster then I had done throughout the race. Thanks to a writing friend I thought of William Marshall (a mediaeval Templar knight buried in the Temple Church) all the way along the Embankment, and then I was at the Houses of Parliament and turning right up Birdcage Walk. I was immensely grateful that Gin had suggested we ran this bit the other week, as I knew exactly how far there was to go. I was still overtaking people, which also felt good, and then I got to the fountain outside Buckingham Palace, and the noise from the crowd was deafening. My family were all cheering themselves hoarse but I didn't see them.
Then I was on the home stretch. The compere was saying that the 29,000th runner had just gone through and telling us all to cheer, and I literally raced over the finishing line. I promptly burst into tears, to the startled surprise of the chap next to me. I was so overcome that I had actually done it. I had my photo taken while talking to Dave on the phone. Then I rang my sil up after I'd collected my bag. Meeting up with Dave and the girls was fabulous and I cried again!
It was quite simply a magical experience. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. And yes, I would like to do it again!
Ten things about the marathon that you don't see on TV:
What a day! Fantastic – I did it in 6 hours 41 minutes, first time. To do that I have had to loose nearly five stones in weight, combat asthma, deal with a medical history of quadruple heart bypass, all since April 2004 when I saw my daughter compete and I said, "I wonder if..."
Good moment: crossing the start line where I was almost in tears.
Bad moment: at about mile 25, getting severe pain in my right shin, since diagnosed as stress fracture.
Best of all: when I crossed the finish line and burst into tears.
What would I do differently: not wait until I was 60 years of age to do it.
The key to my success: just determination to do it once. But... I cant wait for next year to do it again and faster.
Biggest surprise – about a thousand of my friends supporting me. Thanks to all the spectators who encouraged me by calling out my name. Thanks to the family who did exactly the same.
Well, my 2005 London Marathon was an amazing experience, I haven't yet decided if it was my first, or my only!! The best moment by far was seeing my parents and boyfriend just after the 26 mile marker - the sheer relief I had nearly finished hit me and I cried (and wheezed) all the way to the finish!! The worst moment for me was the entire time between miles 13 and 20. I was in incredible pain, and thought I'd have to drop out on more than one occasion!
The biggest surprise for me was the crowds...they have to be seen (and heard) to be believed! The support is amazing, and a big thank you to all the people who shouted my name and told me I was looking good. You are all brilliant liars!! But, Tower Bridge will stick in my memory forever. The crowds there were fantastic, and I burst into tears out of sheer emotion!
I feel the key to my 5:45:38 (including 2x10 minute toilet breaks!) finish was my lucky 50p that I found about a week ago. It has a runner with a stopwatch on the pack, and I carried it in my pack the whole way round!
And finally a word of advice to first-time marathon runners...when you pass through the water stations, DON'T run on the road markings. They become very slippery, as I found out at mile 3, when I nearly went flying!!
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