The Acre Foundation

London Marathon: The Big Day

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Lydia

London Marathon: The Big Day

The final two weeks in the build up to the London Marathon was like nothing I had experienced before. After tapering the long runs in preparation for the big day, the excitement had really started to take hold.

The week before the marathon I wanted to focus on fewer runs whilst trying to keep myself engaged with the task at hand. Cycling to and from work was a good to keep my muscles active and having an assignment and exams for my masters’ to focus on was useful to keep my brain occupied. But the time eventually came where I had to rest and start to focus on the race. Carb-loading was also a major part of my final week’s preparation – eating what felt like endless mountains of pasta for one.

Attending the Marathon Expo in the ExCeL Centre to pick up my number and get the final instructions really made the distance hit home: it took me nearly an hour to get to the ExCeL from Chancery Lane on public transport – and yet on Sunday I was to run even further east to London City Airport and much further west to Buckingham Palace.

Sunday arrived and it was a beautiful sunny morning at the start line in Greenwich Park. Running in the sun was a shock to the system, all my training over the past 5 months had been in sub 5 degree temperatures, but it was great to see that the clement weather had encouraged the spectators out in force. It sounds clichéd, but the strangers lining the roadside shouting your name in encouragement really makes a big difference. Around the course, spectators lined the streets 3 to 4 people deep, and the wall of noise I ran through was like nothing I will ever experience again.

Lydia - before and after her marathon.

The crowd gave so much support and positive vibes for the last 3 miles, along the Embankment towards Big Ben and up Birdcage Walk, it made it easy to pick up the pace – something I never thought would happen after 23 miles of running. According to the official statistics, I overtook 1364 people in the last 7km and was passed by just 34 people – entirely something I put down to the crowd support.

Below are some further statistics about my first London Marathon:

  • Result in the entire field: 12,328th (top 36%)
  • Result in gender: 2697th (top 22%)
  • Result in division (women aged 18-39 years): 1569th (top 21%)

Crossing the finish line, I had a mixed sense of elation and relief. In all honesty, the overwhelming deluge of emotion I had dreamt of didn’t arrive – probably because all the emotion had been run out of me!

Crossing the finish line.

I then waddled into Oxfam House at the British Academy to a roar of celebration. All of the smelly, sweaty runners were treated like royalty: massages, food and drink, and the all-important family reunions. An enormous ‘thank you’ goes to Oxfam for allowing me to take up one of their running spots, and to all those who have supported and generously sponsored me along the way.

I will never forget my first London Marathon experience. I loved every element of the training, the excitement of the build-up, and the day itself was unforgettable. Now I find myself a little lost and searching for my next challenge…watch this space!