Tristan Watson was one of our brave runners who took on the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, here he tells his story of the day...
Months and months of hard work, several new pairs of running shoes, kilos of pasta and a small fortune spent at my local physio, the marathon is done and dusted.
It's been three weeks now since I ran, and I'm still trying to take it all in and realise what we have all achieved. I say we because between us, we've raised over £3500 for MS-UK, and that's the real reason why I was putting myself through all of this. I've been truly blown away by the generosity of everyone, and I know that the charity are also extremely grateful for every penny raised. The Virgin Money London Marathon is MS-UK's biggest annual fundraising event, where they look to raise around £250,000.
I cannot thank you all enough!!
The day itself was incredible. It's one of the few moments in your life where you can feel like a famous sports-star, with 1 million people lining the route to cheer you on. People calling out your name and willing you to push that little bit harder. It's an amazing feeling, at least it is in your mind. For your body, a marathon is really as hard as you'd imagine - 26.2 miles is actually quite a long way...
The day started well. Some porridge in my hotel room before I skipped off to catch the train to the start. I bumped in to some other runners on the way and got chatting (a further reminder about how kind, generous and friendly the running community is). When we reached Greenwich common, I met up with the rest of the MS-UK team and had the obligatory pre-race photo, before queuing (again, and again, and again) for the toilet.
The course was busy. Much busier than I'd bargained for, and it meant finding my stride difficult. Early on I knew that my 4hr time target was out the window, but I didn't care. I quickly realised that the Virgin Money London Marathon is about much more than running a quick time (I'll save that for one of my 2018 marathons,watch this space). It's more of a carnival for runners. A huge mass gathering of like-minded individuals who just want to have a good time and raise some money for charity. I think that's much better than trying to run quickly.
I had plenty of support out on the route, with my Uncle & cousins at Cutty Sark, another cousin and friend at Canada Water, and Annabel and my Mum & Sister at Tower Bridge. I glided through the first half of the race in just over two hours and felt on top of the world! My cheering squads reassembled in to new locations for the second half of the race, as well as getting to see my charity cheering spots for the first time in Canary Wharf. What a boost that was for me, especially as cramp had just start to set in!!
Cramp - something I've never ever suffered with before, so why would it choose to rear its ugly head now at mile 17 of a marathon *unhappy face*. There's no point in sugar-coating it. It was bloody awful, and made the final 90 minutes of the race very very hard. But as I've already said, the crowd support surpasses every negative thought, feeling and emotion, and I pushed through! We got back in to the city, and in the distance I could see Big Ben. It was nearly time to knuckle down and smash out the final miles.
At this point I knew that whatever happened, I WOULD be finishing this journey. It was an overwhelming feeling. The crowds kept building, and getting louder and louder with each and every step I took.
Finally, the moment that surely every runner dreams of, turning the corner in front of Buckingham Palace and seeing The Mall open out in front of you... need I say any more! A rush of adrenaline, fist pumping, shouting out loud to yourself. It's over, it's done!
Getting through my first marathon was hard, but the whole thing was made just that little but easier with the help of a few people!
- • My wife, friends and family - all of you have had to endure my constant chat about running as it engulfed my life for several months. Thank you for being quiet and patient whilst listening to me bang on...
- • My physio, Tom Robinson at Excel Sports Clinic, keeping me physically in check, and offering some fantastic advice when my body was falling apart.
- • The wonderful running community on #UKRunChat. If you're a runner of any ability, log in to twitter and get involved! A like-minded community of runners there at the click of your fingers to offer help, support and encouragement when it's most needed.
- • The ever energetic Mike Phan with his daily emails! I wish I had the time to invest in Mike's running programme in York, but nonetheless, his daily emails (every single day) mentally kept me in check. Lots of thought provoking information to keep me motivated. I'd encourage you all to subscribe.
- • Finally, the team at MS-UK, and all the fellow MS-UK runners. The staff at this charity do incredible work to help people live their lives with MS. It's been a real pleasure to raise money for them. Tristan.
Inspired to run the Virgin Money London Marathon? Watch the video of why some of our runners did in 2017! For more details on applying for MS-UK Gold Bond places please visit our Virgin Money London Marathon page.