It’s not every day that Tower Bridge in London is shut to traffic so you, and 36,000 others can run across without congestion. On Sunday 26 April 2015 I was lucky enough to be one of those 36,000 runners competing in the London Marathon.
Much like the Paris Marathon I ran in April 2014, training started in the last quarter of 2014 for London 2015, upon receiving the confirmation I had won a ballot place on 1 October 2014. I was delighted to have received a ballot place as many friends and colleagues who have been living in London much longer than my (not even two years then) had been applying for years with no such luck. Training kicked in early October, keeping up my usual early morning training sessions (from my rowing days, the habit of training early morning stuck with me).
Training had its ups and downs but on the whole I loved it. I made the most of the experience by keeping my MP3 player up to date with my style of music (which ranges from everything to Spandau Ballet to Kings of Leon to Ed Sheeran to ATB). This, mixed in with plenty of swimming and group exercise classes at my gym, helped me to stay focused throughout.
Something new I had during my training this year was the #UKRunChat group on Twitter. I found this helped immensely as a support and motivational channel. I’ve befriended many running followers on Twitter thanks to it too – definitely worthwhile checking out if you’re planning to sign up for a race in the future. Other initiatives such as #Run2WorkDay also helped throughout the season, and a great cause to support.
A video which motivated me throughout my training is below, if you have just over 11 minutes, watch it! It was filmed over a number of months in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London and captures a group of runners pounding the tarmac through the seasons, brazenly challenged with intimate questions as they pace their routes.
The crowds of supporters throughout the 40K of London Marathon were amazing but the final 2K of the route was eclectic. Everyone was cheering like there was no tomorrow which provided me with such an adrenalin rush. I also had a proper tune pumping me to the end, which was Calvin Harris featuring HAIM. Check it out below. All of these elements helped me achieve my time of 3:34:54, beating my Paris time by 23 minutes, a personal best I am very proud to have achieved.
Below are a selection of my favourite running pictures which I snapped on my iPhone during my training for London Marathon:
Not all the training was enjoyable though – some mornings in January and February I was running in the rain, hail and sleet and even snow. Not pleasant but must be endured when living in London!
I managed to grab a few snaps of a new style of running seflie, aptly called a ‘runfie’, most of which included a nice point of interest in the background (excluding my wrecked looking face!)
To summarise, my London Marathon experience was magical and I could only encourage anyone thinking about doing a marathon to go for it – you won’t regret it! (well, your body might for a few days afterwards – but you can get over that)!