Sunday, 21 April 2013

2013 London Marathon

Today was the 2013 London Marathon, 26.2 miles of running around the streets of London.
I've never been a distance runner, but I can appreciate a physical feat when I see one. So this year I wanted to go along to watch and cheer on the brave runners.
Two of the members at mi-gym were running, as was another friend, so spotting 3 individuals in 37,000 would be an exercise in my perceptive skills if nothing else.

Having never watched the marathon before I wasn't sure what to expect. If I'm honest, I was expecting to be a little bored watching 37,000 people jog past. I couldn't have been more wrong.
We jumped on the train in the morning and headed to Poplar in East London to settle in at the 20 mile mark. After this waypoint it's basically 6 miles in a straight line to the finish line.

Just stop a moment and think about how far twenty-six miles actually is. That's a massive distance, and these people are going to run it!

We arrived at our spectator spot just in time to see the last of the elite runners run past. This alone was incredibly impressive, these men and women had been running for TWENTY MILES and were still going at what I would regard as a sprint. Wow, I'm already glad we came.

I couldn't help but clap and cheer as wave after wave of club runners and normal people came running past. I could see the determination in their faces, I could see who had been training and who was moving forward on sheer force of will.
It was incredible to see such a range of ages, body shapes and ability levels all taking part in the same herculean feat of endurance.
Seeing people run past wearing signs that read 'running for mum' or 'I'll never forget dad' restored my faith in the human race. These people had set out to do something, and today was the day that they were actually doing it, and I got to share in a tiny part of that.
The atmosphere was absolutely magical.
We spurred joggers back into running, we gave words of encouragement to runners who had stopped to stretch, one lady runner smiled up from her stretch and simply said "It's the best and worst day of my life". Then off she ran.

There were old people, big people, beautiful ladies with full faces of makeup, skinny people, muscular people and those who just looked ready to drop.
There were people talking on the phone while still running, people texting (or tweeting) and some that just looked completely 'in the zone'. 37,000 individuals running across London, each with their own reason for being there, each with their own story.

I still cringed every time I saw the bleeding nipples from twenty miles of chafing, but the runners didn't seem phased, they just kept on running.

Before I knew it we'd been standing, cheering and clapping for over 3 hours, and I was still smiling.

Other than an idiot spectator who decided to stand in the road in the way of the runners, and seeing a few trips, there wasn't a hint of negativity all day.

All in all it was a massively positive day and I can't wait to go back next year to support the brave runners in London.
Well done to everyone who took part.

And lastly, huge respect to all of those crazy enough to run the marathon in a large costume. Amazing.

Here's a few of my pictures from the day:

Excuse me sir, you're just in the way

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