If anyone is thinking of Running this epic marathon, to them I say, just do it!
This was a very close second to my favorite marathon, Boston. The crowds and energy were very similar to the incredible day I ran Boston.
Parts of the course were quiet in which I was thankful to have my headphones on to listen to music. But for the most part, the crowds and high energy were just amazing. The streets of Europe are narrow and thus making it hard to pass other runners. I didn’t really need to as by mile six things went downhill for me. The heat and Sun got to me more then any other Hot marathon I have ever run. Usually things cool down, or shade from buildings like in Chicago, help in making it feel cooler. This was not the case for London. The sun was scorching and blazing down on our heads the whole 26 miles. My stomach doesn’t do well in extreme heat so I decided on taking in fluids instead of gels. That zapped my energy even more. I had a handheld bottle in which I filled with Gatorade Endurance drink. That helped a bit. I stopped at every water station. they gave out bottles instead of Cups. Berlin and Paris marathons do the same. I would drink some then pour the rest on my head. The course provided these showers or sprinklers to run through. People were pushing against each other to get through it. I avoided it because I just don’t like running with wet socks. it irks me. At Boston last year, people were giving out wet towels, ice, and popsicles. I was utterly disappointed that that wasn’t the case in London. The officials were just not fully prepared for this record high heat. People were fainting left and right. Fuel stations ran out of water, and sports drinks…so runners ran into the nearest Bars and restaurants to beg for cold water. Some runners picked up bottles from the floor to drink what was left from it from previous runners. Things were that bad. My sister met me at mile 22 with cold coffee drink as I thought at that point I would need it to help give me the push to finish. Despite the drink getting warm and ice melted, it did give me the last push to finish, albeit not fast but it helped.
Along the way I took pictures and caught up to my new runner friend Lilian. She actually went into a place and bought cold coke from how desperate she was lol she complained that her knee was hurting her so I offered her my Motrin pills that I always carry with me while running marathons , just incase. I reached in my flip belt and realized that the pills were melted lol The epic finish on the ‘mall’ by Buckingham palace is what will stay with me forever. Such a glorious finish it was! my husband surprising me 200 meters from the finish was the icing on the cake. As I crossed the finish line, and took some pictures, got my medal and was handed a goody bag of the foil wrap, water and snack. The six star booth was where all the magic happened. I received my six star medal and couldn’t be happier. I had high hopes I would beat my Tokyo marathon time just eight weeks earlier but that clearly didn’t happen. I was very disappointed in myself. But realized how lucky I was to finish in one piece and how awesome of an opportunity it was to be a six star finisher. People spend years to complete this challenge, I had done it in less then 3, and raised 22k along the way! So there is the bright side of this rather disheartening day due to my performance.
The expo was quite a ride from where I had stayed in London. The building itself is very uneventful and just basically a conference center with huge halls. Most expos take place in such a building due to space. Except for Berlin. I loved the expo for Berlin. IT was in an old train station. The architecture of the building and history of it was fascinating, it was an old train station. However for London, your running from point a to point b. Basically starting in Greenwich ending at Buckingham palace near Hyde park. People advised me to stay near the finish. Im glad I did that but getting to the expo was over an hour via Uber ride. I advise those who will run London to take a train there. And even that is about 40 min ride. it was just way to out of the way I felt. In any case, the London marathon partners with Holiday Inn and so I picked one out from their website and booked there. They promise a shuttle ride to the start of the marathon which again is about 50 min ride from the finish. When I got to the hotel, they informed me I’m not eligible to ride on the shuttle because I didn’t book through the London marathon website, I was livid. With the one of the trains, DLR, on strike, and street closures, how was I supposed to get to the start? Turns out the train went back to work just day before the marathon thank God, and gettin to the start was rather simple indeed. So I def advice you to stay near the finish and not the start line for this marathon. Usually I book near the start because I like to take my time getting ready and eat good breakfast. The world majors start very late in the day, hello Boston and NY, therefore I have to get in a good meal prior.
The expo itself was fun with games and tons of “selfie’ booths. haha They give you a goody bag at the expo instead of shopping around for samples which I preferred. The finishers shirt is given to you at the finish of the marathon, like Paris. Because I finished at the back of the pack, they had run out of my size! That really bothered me, had they offered the shirt in our bag at the expo that wouldn’t have happened. Its ok because I really didn’t like the grey/green shirt or design anyway. My least favorite shirt out of all the world majors.
I told my husband right after I finished that I def want to re-run this marathon. Something in me still wants to come back for ‘revenge’ haha I know I didn’t train as much as I did for my other 9 marathons, but didn’t really think I’d do that bad. Its crazy how over and over again the sport of the marathon humbles you! IT really brings you down to earth when you think your ego is so up there. Raising money for brain tumor research, something I never imagined id ever do, was also quite humbling. Seeing my dad fight this awful disease made me want to do something. For that I am grateful to have ended my six star quest with such a meaningful cause!!