Wow what a day it was in London!
What nobody tells you is that by the time you have walked to the train station, caught the train to Greenwich, done the 1/2 mile or so walk to Greenwich Park, found the lorry to leave your personal belongings on, gone for a last minute comfort break (didn’t work as I needed to go again 2 miles into the race!), found your starting pen and then stood around for 1/2 an hour waiting for the off you feel like a sit down before you’ve even started.
Then the race begins. 7 minutes later, I made it to the start line and at 10.07, away I went. People give you advice about not setting off too quickly and pacing yourself but the reality of the situation is you are swept along in a huge wave of runners being careful not to trip the person in front or be trampled on by the person behind.
As I ran through Greenwich, I was amazed by the number of people watching, children at the side of the road wanting to be high fived, people who had set up sound systems in their bedrooms with a microphone shouting encouragement and blasting music from their windows.
Before long I had made it to my favourite part of the course, the Cutty Sark, where you are met by a wall of noise from cheering supporters, bands, and music blasting out from all directions. Then it was time to try and make it over to the right hand side of the road where I knew my family were waiting to cheer me on at mile 7 – a quick high five with my children and on I plodded.
I felt fantastic and enjoyed the occasion for most of the way round. I was extremely emotional at mile 17 where there was a MS-UK cheering point. Thoughts turned to my brother and other sufferers of MS – such a cruel disease – and to gratitude to all the supporters who had turned out to cheer everybody on and the generosity of family, friends and well wishers who had helped raise funds for this worthy cause.
I was going great guns until mile 22 when I think I must have hit the dreaded wall. Everything started hurting and I knew it would just be a mental battle to get across the finish line. The crowds were huge and loud coming up the embankment towards the Houses of Parliament but I could not appreciate it the same here. I just wanted to get to the finish line. 4 hours 4 minutes after starting, I crossed the line – I had done it.
It was then off to the reception hosted by MS-UK where each and every single runner received a hero’s welcome.
My overriding feeling from the day was not one of any personal satisfaction for achieving my goal but simply of being part of such a wonderful event. Over 39,000 people took part and millions lined the streets of London, all with the aim of raising money for good causes – it is a great and compassionate country we live in!
The incredible generosity of my supporters has now reached an amazing amount of £33,000 inclusive of gift aid with donations still coming in via my giving page – check it out online now.
Back to the Monarch Airbus A321 this week flying passengers to Gran Canaria and Agadir from Manchester Airport!