Emily tells us of her 2016 London Marathon experience.
Let’s just say, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be!
In June 2015, I foolishly thought that because I was able to run half marathons, that a full marathon wouldn’t be that difficult! ……..Naive, foolhardy and over confident.
I was ecstatic to be offered a golden ticket from Climb to run and fundraise on their behalf, and over the moon to be supporting, a very special little boy, Louis Devonshire.
I decided that I would show, dedicated commitment to my training. From the 2nd January, I was going to only eat healthy food, stop alcohol consumption (though I left myself a small clause that I could have a little drink on high days and holidays), and follow a rigid training plan!
It quickly transpired that only one, of the three commitments was being adhered to. I’m notoriously greedy, and the quiet hamlet of Upton, Cambridgeshire was plagued with high days and holidays. I did however follow the training plan!
Training consisted of a weekly 4 and 8 mile run, and Sundays saw the institution of the “long runs,” every week a mile being added on until I reached 22 miles on Easter Saturday, then gently tapering down until the big day.
I would be lying if there were not some Sunday’s that I didn’t curse the lovely Louis, curse living on the Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire border and its picturesque rolling (hilly, damn hilly) countryside, curse the dedication of my friend, and curse the durability of her bicycle and its inability to get a puncture.
Having fainted on my first 18 mile run, I had a reality check that the correct diet is vital if you want your body to keep going! From here on it was pasta, brown rice, chicken, fish and as much fruit and vegetables as possible, I even reduced the amount of high days and holidays, conning myself with a tonic sans gin, but had the odd occasional medicinal Guinness.
Two pairs of trainers’ later, feet that can now only be described as extremely unattractive, and a slightly dodgy hamstring, I made to the big day. I was very nervous, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I would be letting down Louis, his family and all the generous people who sponsored me, my friend and her infernal bicycle and the support team hanging around London to cheer me on. I also thought I might be a bit bored and lonely running all that way on my own.
OMG, how wrong was I! At 6 am on Sunday morning, Huntingdon train station was alive, and by the time we arrived at Kings Cross, there was standing room only. On the way to Greenwich I made firm friends with a French Pink Flamingo, I wasn’t lonely anymore! I said my good byes to the support team at Greenwich, and made my way to the red start, gate 6.
Soon we were ready for the off, and it felt like being with one big running family, everyone was chatting as we made our way to the start. As soon as I started running, I can only describe the next 26.2 miles as running through a fantastic street party, it’s true the crowds carry you from the start right to the end. I never once felt alone.
I saw family and friends at miles 6, 13, 18 and 22, having previously arranged this is where they would look out for me, and that I was to hang to the right of the road, the highlight was seeing Louis at mile 18 with a fantastic banner that his sister had made, perfect timing. Seeing him carried me to the end and made the 18 mile wall instantly diminish.
The last two miles were a struggle, heavy legs, 4 black toes and a blister playing on my mind, but just as you feel you can’t carry on, you hit a wall of sound, and the crowds appear to be only calling your name. The noise and support literally picked me up and carried me to the finish.
Was it worth it? Definitely, yes! Why? I have raised money to support a phenomenal charity and Louis has told me he is proud of me!