So race morning and up a little bit earlier than planned due to nerves and walking down to the tube I bumped in the a female fellow runner so we got the tube and train together to the start in Blackheath. There was a bit of freshness in the air but the sun was up and very few clouds in the sky. By the time I arrived at the start I was hot after a few stuffy train rides and the temperatures was increasing. I put my bag in a lied down on the grass and watched some of the earlier starters head off on the big screen. The organisation was first class and free drinks available and plenty of toilets. I made it to the starting pen in plenty of time and had a chat with a fella from Bradford as we waited to be the 7th wave to start from the blue section. As my wave got ready to start the old pre race need for a wee kicked in but I had time to relieve myself and was all ready to attack the course and I eventually started 38 mins after the gun.
Due to the heat forecast I had already decided I was just going to try and enjoy the race as much as I could and not focus on time. It was very busy at the start and so this helped me keep my pace down to a level I wanted. Things were going great and the atmosphere was good as the sun must have brought out extra supporters. First sight was The Cutty Sark which and the noise if anything was too loud and a bit distracting. Mrs Fay and some family members and friends were at mile 9 and I gave them a jolly wave as things were going well. They spotted me again by accident a few miles later and next up was London Bridge. Just in front of me was a fella who got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend to rapturous applause from the crowd and fellow runners including myself clapping as we went by. 13.1 miles and half way I was 2:23:07 and going well. Parts of the course became a bit conjested and “on top” as the crowds drew in from the side in scenes like the Tour de France going up a mountain and the noise was a bit annoying for me even though it was well intentioned support. As the miles went on I had already lost both my nipple protection due to sweat and lots of water being poured onto my top and the old joggers nipple kicked in. There were Vaseline stops so I managed to stop some of it but I had a blood covered top at the end of the race. My mate kindly text me this morning to ask how my “chippy tits” were ! Moving into the middle stages of the race there were people being treated at the side of the road with the range of problems from full on strecther jobs to people vomiting and many people stretching legs out. My first target was to get to 20 miles and review the race then. As I got to 20 miles I decided that due to the heat I would concentrate on getting the definite finish. I had deep down set a target of 5 hours but due to all the great sponsorship it was all about the finish. I walked half a mile ran half a mile from miles 21 to 23 with more walking after that and of course a decent run at the end to put on a show for the finish and I eventually finished in 05:15:13. With it being declared the warmest London Marathon at 24c in the shade temperatures on the road in the blazing sun must have been near 30c at times. So I got through the post race procedure very quickly and again the organisation was brilliant I ended up having to wait for Mrs Fay to meet me as she was stuck in the crowds.
With my marathon training starting back in October but turning hardcore into the new year and my life off the grog leading to a boring few months Mrs Fay has had to put up with a lot from me over these last 4 months. So 5 years ago she lost the diamond in her engagement ring. I had managed to get hold of the ring ready to pawn it for an iPhone X but decided to get it fixed and a new diamond as a post race surprise. We met under Admiralty Arch and I asked her to take a picture of me and my medal and then said to her I have a medal for you and presented her with “new’ ring. That is possibly the most romantic thing I have done since offering to sleep on the wet patch once. She was overcome with emotion as was I when I realised how many credits that I must have in the bank now for trips away etc.
After a torturous tube journey home it was a quick chill and then a shower and time to have a few post race beers and reflect on the race. Those Desperados tasted nice and apart from the normal aches on the bottom of my feet I felt quite good. As I laid on my bed I spotted a pack of salt and vinegar walkers max in my bag and they were the tastiest crisps I have had for ages as I walks struggle to eat and get to sleep after a big race. It was 1am by the time I got asleep and I was awake for just after 7. Think I wil, be asleep in my own bed for around 8pm tonight. One last walk around North London in the morning and the train home we were back in Liverpool ready to pick the kids up from school.
Many thanks to Claire’s Aunty (Lynne) who put me up for the weekend which made things a whole lot more relaxing and less stressful. As for the race itself the organisation was first class and never seen anything like it before. The race itself trying to take the heat factor out of it I found a bit too noisy and busy both in the race and on the sides. After about the 89th time of somebody shoting down your ear come on “Billy” to their mate who is by you it became a bit annoying. Maybe on an easier race I might have bought into the support but it was relentless for 26.2 miles. My thanks also to all the well wishes and congratulations I got across all my “socials” my stock answer yesterday was “it was like running the Cyprus marathon”
Two down and one to go with The Liverpool Marathon up next in just under 4 weeks.
So the fundraising is at £1361 funds for Millstead school and there is a bit more to add on in offline donations and this has been much much more than I expected. The link is below for any more donations as I still have one more marathon out of the three marathon challenge to do.
Fay x x x x x x x x x