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This was my first marathon ever and the London Marathon was the inspiration which started me running four years ago - standing on the roadside cheering everyone on, being overwhelmed and having that feeling of wanting to take part myself. I still couldn't believe I was there, standing on that start on Sunday. I felt lost and excited all in one; it was an emotional morning.
The best moment for me must have been Tower Bridge. I felt on top of the world at that point and the crowds were amazing; I was smiling and laughing. My worst moment hit me at about 24 miles, I had never felt pain like it. I was totally in unfamiliar territory, I knew it was going to be tough but unaware of how tough this point would be, people can explain to you what it is like but until you experience it you have no idea. When that black moment comes, it really does! My mind was running but my legs wouldn't let me go any faster but I was determined not to walk one step. It was going over in my mind, "Head up, hips forward... it won't last for ever, two miles that's all it is... come on move it, what's wrong with you, are you injured? No... well then get a move on... but I can't..." The minutes were just running away from me.
The one thing I might have changed is going to the loo. I know: who wants to know about that, but... just before the start I couldn't decide if I needed the loo or not. Someone said, "How long ago did you go?" It had been only five minutes before. So they said, "It's just nerves; once you start running you will be fine," and they were right but I kept thinking about it.
I don't think it affected my time, but I should have stopped just to put it out of my mind. Every time I saw a loo I thought, "Not now, the next one," but I never did make that stop! And I just kept thinking that Runner's World said that it's better to lose a few minutes than to feel uncomfortable, go and get it out of your mind - that is good advice I didn't follow.
|Philip Bosworth, 4:21|
My first marathon, and I loved every minute. In training I ran as far as 20 miles and it nearly killed me, so on Sunday I followed the advice of a friend who said, ”Start slow, get slower.” Five hundred yards in a fella tapped me on the shoulder pointing out that we were running for the same charity - his name was also Phil, also from Liverpool, also his first marathon. The low point for me was when we got separated at eight miles when I went for a pee. The high point was when I saw the back of his head again at 25 miles and we ran the last mile together.
The crowd was superb. I followed advice and had my name printed on my vest and it was like being cheered on by several thousand friends. There were folk running out there with headphones on; I can only think that they are really missing the point. I was quite overwhelmed by the support that people were willing to offer to nobodies like me. At 15 miles some guy gave me a banana and it was like eating rocket fuel.
I wanted to run every step, time was less important, so I ran 10-minute miles from start to finish and, no surprises, got a time of 4hrs 21mins. Having maintained such an even pace, I was still in really good nick at the end so I was able to enjoy every minute. Next year I want to go faster.
|Sally Reeve, 4:57|
My first Marathon and, wow, what an experience. I am still on a high and boring everyone with the details. The crowd were amazing - they kept me going for the last four miles. I wanted to complete it in under five hours and did. No threat to Paula, but what a personal achievement. I am a London Marathon finisher, I can do anything.
The day started off well and just kept getting better. I stood in a loo line at the blue start only to find that in the next line was a mate I hadn't seen in ages from my club (33,000 people, what are the odds on that?!).
Had a good start and really had fun meeting loads of great people and beating my previous best time by 41 minutes. All in all, weather brill, organization second to none, if I can do it again next year I would love to.
|Little (not so) Fat Welshman, 4:11|
This turned into a mammouth weight session. Having started the day with a massive breakfast (which was an extension of an equally massive dinner the night before), I anticipated the nerves would release me of this burden before the gun went off. Alas I was so calm before the start that I carried these extra calories the whole distance (unlike a certain Paula).
As expected, the crowd of runners was awesome, which if I put my racing head on was quite frustrating in terms of not being able to get into a rhythm and for passing, but thankfully I participated with my jovial "come what may" head on and had a ball. The highlight was meeting the Runner's World Team 3 at mile 17 - Meer, JJ, Littlesteph et al were just the tonic at the point in the race when things start to get tough.
I managed a little sprint to the finish, but not wanting to lessen the enormity of my effort I aimed for the furthest finish line in order to avoid on my finishers photo the numerous fairies, Elvis,s, Barney Rubbles etc that were finishing around me. However, on crossing the finish line I was somewhat taken aback when the TV crew rushed to interview 2 flippin' bananas that unbeknown to me crossed immediately after my heroic finish. Can't wait to see the photo.
|Sian Aggett, 4:22:55|
What a fantastic day! Just writing this, I'm welling up. I love London, and everyone who came out and supported us deserve their own medals. Thank you for the music and the jelly babies! I brought along my motivational music in mp3 form but my player conked out at about 5 miles. Thankfully I didn't need it. The spirit and vibe of everyone around me kept me going.
I was fine and on a high till 21 miles but at 22 miles I felt like I might have to break the promise I had made myself not to walk. Thankfully I bumped into the only other person I knew running the marathon at exactly that point, even though we were at different starts! He was walking so I persuaded him to run along with me to the end, both of us too bloody minded to give up before the other.
Pretty much all my supporters around the course managed to spot me, discounting my sister whom I spotted on the sidelines and expended valuable energy shouting at.
One issue I do have though is the sticky pavement. When your legs feel like lead as it is, it doesn't help when for 500 metres after every Lucozade stand you get glued to the street!
The supporters really did make the day. I am still on a high! Is it something to do with endorphins? I am on another planet in the office, but no one seems to care.
|Wes Wisham, 4:24:55|
First Timer, Age 44...
Best moment? Singing with fellow runners and doing the Y-M-C-A hand signals in unison on one stretch, great fun!
Worst moment? Pulling a hamstring at 23.5 miles and having to pull off to the side
Most memorable moment? Looking up at Big Ben, framing the time 2:15pm in my mind, and driving to the finish with the incredible crowd support provided in this stretch all the way to Buckingham Palace!
What would you do differently? Eat a bowl of porridge with some toast before the race instead of just a breakfast bar. I got through the race okay on the reserves I'd built up the few days before but felt I drank way to much during the race and believe it may have been from not having a bit more quick fuel in the tank to start with.
And what was the key to your success? Backing down on my training in the last two weeks and getting some physio help after my 22-mile run which left me quite sore and unable to run without pain (Thanks Amanda Kemp!). I almost over-trained, having done three 20 milers plus the 22-miler in preparation and wouldn't have been well enough to run if I had tried to keep to the training plan the last two weeks.
I almost forgot, the lady (God Bless You) around the 23.5 mile mark who saw me pull off with the hamstring problem. She kindly told me I would be alright and still finish and encouraged me to keep going. I thought I might be finished then and was dreading having to walk the last bit to the finish. I heard those words, though I didn't acknowledge you, and focused on relaxing and finishing the race. That got me walking again and soon I was back at full-pace with a strong finish. You'll never know how important those words were!
|Ripped Dap, 4:22:52|
Best Moment? Without doubt, the crowd support. This was my second marathon. I thought Cardiff last year was good, but nothing could have prepared me for the crowds. The warmth of their support, really lifted me. Special thanks to Meercat and co at mile 17. That was immense!
Worst Moment? Feeling good at mile 20 and then putting in a seven- and then an eight-minute mile, only to hit wall at 22! I wanted sub-4 but I was so high I thought I could get well into the three somethings! What an idiot. I ended up with 4:23, but am still mighty proud of that.
Biggest Surprise? Continually bumping into my good mate Neil throughout the course. We kept helping each other out, which was awesome. Also bumping into one of my best friends and training partner Stu. Again, what are the chances of that. Even with a crocked knee he ran about 4:0.
Memorable Moment? Not to take the gloss off a perfect day but hunting for a toilet at around 23. It is amazing how the human spirit invents solutions when no others exist! Being interviewed by Colin Jackson, but alas it did not make TV.
Next Time? Will stop cheating when following the RW training schedule! The crowd and atmosphere was definitely key to my success. Never ever shook so many peoples hands as I did last Sunday!
|Novice Al, 4:22|
I couldn't for the life of me admit to seeing Big Ben; I missed the London Eye; and what happened to Buckingham Palace?! I do however recall the thousands of smiling faces and will remember them forever.
The most inspiring thing was perhaps the admiration on their faces. We make choices in our lives that we accept not everyone can admire and support, but for that day only I had what felt like the world cheering me on, something that has changed me forever!
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