Celebrating the fact that I had won a place via the public ballot, I had trained hard to achieve a sub-4:00 time. I was overjoyed at recording two half-marathons during the training both under 1:50. A few minor injuries over the 16 weeks were nursed away and I felt pretty good on the starting line.
Running with so many people wearing personal messages about lost or huring loved ones, I tried not to let the emotion get to me too much. Besides, I had agreed to run for two charities and raised a few hundred quid.
I won't bore you with the details but I missed my time by eight minutes, due to the heat and congestion. Initially I felt a little resentful at the number of people I had to weave past (sapping precious energy) and wondering how on earth they got put in a starting pen further ahead than me?
Anyway, at 5am the next day I got a call from my little sister telling me that mum had passed away (from cancer) at 1:30 am that morning. I thought she had a couple of months and had only seen her the Sunday before.
I now understand why all those people entered and finished the race no matter how long it took them. I salute you all.
I've entered the ballot for next year (2012) and although i'll go after a good time, I will be running with a different motivation.