It’s done. It’s over, I survived and two days later my legs are feeling like they might return to their former state.
It was very hard. Harder than I thought it would be, but it was also one of the best things I’ve ever done. Which is a very bizarre feeling given the pain that followed.
I had some knee issues throughout my training - my left knee had a serious wobble at around 18 miles, and I made slower progress than I wanted to from that point on. However, I finished in under five hours (my goal) and I was flying for the last mile (because I could very clearly see the finish line).
Watch a recap of my training and the final run... including a hazy finish line shot:
Since it’s all over and done, I thought I would list a few things I learnt from my first marathon experience for others who are thinking of doing one:
Not everyone hits a wall
I’m not saying this doesn’t exist for some people, but I really don’t think I got to a point where I just couldn’t carry on. It got very very very hard after around 21 miles, but I think that’s partly because most people who have followed some sort of training plan have built up a level of fitness that allows them to carry on, but their legs and hips and joints just can’t move as fast as their head wants them to. Without wanting to sound like a cliché, the entire second half of the marathon was as much about mind over matter as it was about physical exertion.
The crowds are as good as everyone says they are
The crowds are incredible. I imagine it’s the same for other marathons in other cities, but if anyone is thinking of running in London for Lumos in 2018 I can promise you the atmosphere was outstanding. I had people cheering me on and high fiving me from about 0.2 miles and it continued right up until I finished and I was handed a medal.
(Also as a side note, you will LOVE seeing familiar faces on the way around, your cheering squad are a VERY big part of your day).
It’s totally normal to be overtaken by a man carrying a washing machine on his back
Imagine: you are at about mile 15, flagging a bit but quite happy with your current performance, and then, out of nowhere, a man carrying an actual washing machine overtakes you. This will hurt your pride at first (until you finally overtake him again, ha!) but it will also make you realise that some people will go to the greatest lengths to raise money for a good cause (whilst also breaking a Guinness World Record, I believe).
You WILL enjoy it
On the days leading up to the Marathon I would say my nerves overtook my excitement in a big way…and then I lined up to start. I saw a HUGE crowd of people, all running for a myriad of incredible causes, and suddenly my nerves disappeared and I was aware that I was part of something great. So much of my training happened on my own, and it was really nice to run with a group of people
Your fundraising will make a big difference
My aim was to raise funds to help Lumos’ work in Haiti, where we are working with the government and others to close abusive orphanages, reunite children with families and put in place safe, alternative care within families and communities. In total I raised £2,916, and this will support the following work:
Knowing my contribution is going towards something that will make a huge difference to the lives of children and families is worth every one of the 26.2 miles.
If you would like to run, climb, walk, cycle or swim in any other challenge event for Lumos, then we would love to hear from you and support you on your journey. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on how you can get involved.