This was my first ever marathon and it was the best running event I have ever taken part in. The race, however, did not go as planned. I spent nine months training, completing two 17-mile runs and a 20-mile road race five weeks before (3:19) as well as a few half-marathons. I tapered in the last three weeks to be fully fit.
Everything was going great until after Mile 19. I had run all the way and was on for 3:30. I hadn't experienced any cramps, I was well-hydrated and well-fuelled but then I was tripped by another runner. I came to a sudden halt and when I went to run again I couldn't. I had unbearable pain at the side of my knees and thighs - I could only walk. I managed to get to the nearest St. John's Ambulance post where they bandaged ice packs around both my knees. I looked a sight and certainly didn't see anyone else with ice packs bandaged to them.
I continued but couldn't run. At Mile 21 I felt like I couldn't walk either. My family were just after Mile 22 - when I saw them I cried and remembered saying that I just couldn't run, I was in so much pain. They all said to just keep going. I thought of the moment that Derek Redmond was injured in the 1992 Olympics and how his Dad got him over the line - somehow I managed to keep walking (slowly to say the least).
I kept attempting to run but it was no use. When I got to Mile 25, I was determined to run the last mile no matter how slow or painful. Believe me, it was painful. The crowds were fantastic - hearing people shout your name brought tears to my eyes. I crossed the finish line in 5:20.22 - way off my expected time.
I'm delighted to have completed the marathon, and am going back next year (hopefully) to do it justice and run the whole 26.2 miles. I wouldn't miss it for the world, even though I am currently on crutches, anti-inflammatories and pain killers. I have got some amazing memories which I will remember forever.