The day finally arrived!
I’d managed to avoid any injuries and all of the nasty bugs that were doing the rounds.
I’d been having problems going to sleep (over excited) but kept getting up early as ! wanted to be ‘in synch’. Unfortunately this led to me being massively over tired and I started getting all sorts of symptoms which terrified me as I thought the M.S. was making a reappearance.
There was a lot of ‘Not until Monday’ being said, but fortunately a good night’s sleep put paid to most of that 🙂
Saturday night I got everything prepared. No carbs or gels for me. I had chicken, ham, nuts and eat well bars.
Sunday morning arrived and, after days of not sleeping, I woke up completely refreshed and very excited.
So excited, that I could not eat my breakfast, and I hadn’t eaten much over the previous few days. I have finally found something that kills my appetite! Shows how often I get excited about things!
Got dressed, final check that I had everything, and set off to Little Havens.
There were three coach loads going to the start and the atmosphere on the coach was buzzing. Everybody was happy and chatting.
There was a slight hiccup when we missed the turning for the start. We continued down the A2 but the next two junctions were coned off as the roads were already closed. When we reached the final exit we stopped and the driver tried to get the marshall to let us through to turn round. He asked us if we were for the Olympics! 🙂 He was about to let us through when another marshall, who’d been talking to the coach ahead of us ran back and stopped him.
Then the police arrived on their pushbikes. Fortunately they saw sense and escorted us off, round the roundabout, and back on the main road.
We all disembarked on the heath to set off to our start points. I met up with Carly who also had a ballot place and we set off for the Blue Start.
There had to be a little diversion though …… my friends will understand why!
We met up with Carly’s friend and headed in. Time to join the Martin Yelling loo queue.
We had plenty of time to relax, make myself eat my breakfast, organise our stuff and hand our baggage in.
Then we started to wander to the start when the guy on the tannoy announced “23 minutes to start time”.
Instant laxative effect!!!!!! Thank God the queues had gone down, and it was one less thing to worry about!
Time to join the start
And now the excitement really took hold! We talked, we laughed, we shared journeys ……. and then we started to move forward …….. across the line …………… past the grandstands ………. and then
I looked to my right to see Penny and Eve who I used to work with! The shock on their faces was brilliant!
And that sort of set the tone for the rest of the day!
I really don’t know how to write about the marathon so it’ll just have to be a random stream of thoughts.
Firstly, I loved every minute. I may have said that before, and I’m bound to say it again, but that’s the over riding emotion.
I saw so many people I know on the route, friends, colleagues, ex pupils the lot. The crowds were fantastic, there was not a single point in the 26.2 miles where there was not a crowd (well, OK, they weren’t in the tunnel) and my face was hurting from grinning and my hands from high fiving the kids.
The camaraderie with the other runners was great. You’d spend short periods of time with someone chatting to them and then go your own ways.
I remember a man who had obviously had a stroke (I know the signs well) who told me he wasn’t giving in to it and was determined to finish. I hope he did.
There was another man in an ordinary wheelchair, respect to him too.
There were unexpected moments and emotions too.
We were going through Woolwich when I suddenly saw this block of flats.
25 years ago, when Ray was in hospital after his stroke, I was allowed to take him out for thew weekends. The problem was we had nowhere to go. Our flat was a basement which I could not get him in and out of. We tried a hotel but it was a complete disaster.
We had a hospital social worker, Sylvia. Her daughter and grand child lived in this block of flats and they moved out every weekend to allow us to stay there! It made so much difference to how we coped and I will never forget it.
Big sniff …… and back to the race!
As I went round it seemed like everybody was shouting my name, especially the little kids, it was a nice short one for them to read! But somehow I could differentiate between those who were encouraging me and those who knew me!
Took a while to work it out, well I had plenty of time!, and I realised that the encouragers shouted things like “Come on Gill”, “Keep going Gill” whilst the people who knew me just bellowed GILL!!!!!!
I saw so many people that I’m not going to try to name them all because I’ll only miss people out and that would be awful. Every single one of you, and every member of the crowd, helped me round that course!
I think this photo, taken by my friend Hayley, illustrates that!
I have always wanted a photo where I have both feet off the ground (it happens very rarely) and now I’ve got one!
From Cutty Sark, through to Deptford …… my old territory! Oh, I miss Deptford. Loved being back surrounded by the crowds and being shouted at by ex pupils (nicely I may add).
I knew that some of them were coming and they’d told me where they’d be so I was looking out for them. Problem was I was looking for teenagers, and some of them are now in their 40s. Another Mr. Chips moment.
On we went, until we turned a corner and saw
The sight of Tower Bridge really lifted my spirits, especially as I knew my friend Lindsay and her son George, were there. I haven’t seen them in ‘real life’ for years and it was wonderful to do so. The large bag of jelly babies they gave me was wonderful too 😉
On we went through Docklands, more friends :-), and finally headed towards Tower Hill where Darryl had told me he would be. We’d both wondered if we’d see each other but, as he was leaning round a hoarding with a completely clear view up the road, there was no problem! I wanted to run towards him but the last few times I’d tried to run my left hamstring had screamed so I sped my fast walking up.
I stopped and we had a very excited chat! It was great to see him, a lot of you will know how much I owe to him and Club One Hundred (plug, plug, plug) and I loved that he could see how his training had worked because I had reached 22 miles in no discomfort at all!
About 1/2 km further on were Nigel (my brother) and Renei. Another stop and chat, it was great to see them and I have to confess to my eyes welling up when I saw Nige ‘cos he looked proud of me!!!!
On again along the Embankment and reach the 25 mile point
I was still feeling great but that last 1.2 miles seemed to take for ever. It was so much longer than the others have been.
This may be, in part, because it was! When I arrived at Westminster Nigel and Renei were waiting for me again. They called me over, and then made me go back down the course so that they could take a photo they had been planning. I’d done over 25 miles and then had to retrace my steps for a photo opportunity!
Here’s the photo, you decide if it was worth it!
The next thing was
385 (very long) yards to go and it was over.
Across the line and then my medal was placed around my neck!
I HAD DONE IT!!!!!!!!!
The medal was so heavy it felt like it was pulling me over. It’s huge, and beautiful!
I then met up with Nige & Ren again
before walking back with Havens Hospices to get the coach home. Thank you for waiting for me guys!
I have to say this was one of the best days I have ever had!!!! I loved every single minute of it.
Below I have posted the thumbnails of all the photos the official photographers took. If you zoom in you will see that I am grinning like a lunatic in almost all of them. Says it all really!
And the time?
Well, that was never important to me, my aim was to finish it, get my medal and enjoy it. I certainly met all those criteria!
I’ll do another post soon about what I’ve learned but if I don’t stop now nothing will ever get posted!