Helen was one of our two lucky club ballot winners for this year’s London Marathon. We asked her if she could write a few words to describe her experience.
Helen: It's everything most people say, fun and a fantastic challenge. The London Marathon is one of the best marathons to do if it is your first and you are worried about completing one, because over 99% of those who start DO finish according to London Marathon organisers. No matter how slow you go there will always be other runners / walkers / Rhino's / Dinosaur's / beer bottles surrounding you and crowds supporting you every inch of the course.
We (Andy Lane & I) made a weekend of it, picked our numbers at the Expo. At the Expo there are lots of different stalls selling nice running stuff, as well as presentations and Interviews with top runners. On Saturday, we met up with some UKnetrunners at Starbucks near St Paul's, including the super-fast Stephen Price and Peter Stockdale.
On Sunday, we left our hotel and walked the 800 metres to the start. You could feel the excited and nervous emotions of the other runners and hear runner's chatting if they had done enough training. I'd only been doing two runs a week due to a hamstring strain, I kept saying "I'll give my leg 5 days to rest and it will be better". Sadly that didn't work. It didn't matter, I just adjusted my marathon goal. My goal was to get to mile 20 without walking and finish in time to catch our 5pm train.
The crowded start wasn't a problem at all and it only took 3 minutes to get off the start line. I ran with a London Pride Beer Bottle, a truck, a Spider-Man, 2 Fred Flintstones (who kept saying "Yabba, Dabba, Doo"), a basketball player dribbling two balls and many others. I also found £20, a credit card & must have eaten the equivalent to a large bag of jelly babies as the crowd hands out so many. Finishing was great.
The London Marathon is special because everyone can do it. Afterward I even managed to bump into the legendary Steve Trew (commentator & ex athlete), he even recognised me (I think he was trying to hide).
Anyway finally it was off to meet Andy Lane by a Lion in Trafalgar Square and within 30 minutes of being in the Virgin Train First Class Lounge I'd showered and mowed my way through half their food either via my mouth or put it in my bag!