As we approached Blackheath at 7.00 a.m. last Sunday, the morning of my third London Marathon, I found myself wondering “Why?” Not only was I about to put myself through all that agony again, but this time I had agreed to do it in a large red heart. Friends had said I must be mad and now I was beginning to believe them
It had all seemed like a very good idea at the time (months ago) but now that the event was imminent and the heart was sitting in the back seat of the car grinning at me I felt an impending sense of what was to come!
I had collected my heart from the CRY office a month before and had practiced once in it, running 6 miles along the beach with my (very) brave running partner and my dog. It was our regular Monday run and I have to say that it was very interesting with many bemused looks, some choice comments and even one or two, who being unsure of what was going on or what to say, chose to pretend they had not seen me at all!!!
I was pleasantly surprised at how well that run had gone and I felt confident, but that was then, and now I was contemplating 20 further miles to run. What had I done? What if I got too hot, what might rub and chafe, what if it rained?
At the start I spotted a group of other CRY hearts and we got together for some photos and a comparison of vaseline areas (you had to be there really), before we made our way to the start.
Once in the group at the start, the nerves seemed to evaporate and the emotions of the situation really took over. I will never cease to be moved by all the high emotion and drama of the event, and just talking to all the others around you is an experience that brings me close to tears.
Suddenly the gun is heard, a cheer from all around as we begin our slow process towards the line. 11 minutes after the gun our feet cross the start line (still walking at this stage as the road is still blocked with the large numbers of competitors!)
One of my main concerns had been how I was going to manage with the portaloos if needed, being such a wide load, and with arm restrictions. Well in the end I didn’t need one so can’t shed any light on the answer to that particular problem!
So how was it? Well I can honestly say that the heart felt great and there were no restrictions to running at all. In fact by the end I was very attached to my heart and it had made me really feel part of the whole London Marathon experience. I had loads of people asking me what CRY was all about, and as I made my way round people kept calling my name and encouraging me with “come on the heart” or even once or twice “come on the tomato!!! ”
So how did I feel at the end? Well after 4 hours and 41 minutes, elated, tired, hungry and elated again. There is nothing like the feeling at the completion of a marathon and unless you’ve been there it is very hard to explain. The hearts were great and the feeling of being in with the spirit of the marathon with the other fancy dress runners made this one extra special for me, and it is certainly something I will never forget.