London Marathon 2018, by Wendy
I’m a little apprehensive writing this as Jim is so good at this kind of thing – but I promised I’d do this when he withdrew his club place this year. So where to start… How about this (to the tune of Hot Chocolate’s “It started with a kiss”)…? [Editor: here’s the link if anyone needs a refresher.]
It started with a pick,
In the back row of Rigby’s
How could I predict
My name would be chosen
Little Tom he did so good
I was happy beyond belief
I made a promise to make you all proud
I made a promise to take training seriously
But then…it was only December
And I had to wait till April 22nd…
Ok, bored with that, you guys get the gist! From the 3rd December, when my name was drawn, it all started. Those of you who were there know how much it meant to me! With promises from everyone about helping with training etc, I knew this was gonna be epic and I couldn’t wait; however poor Neil must have thought: “OH NO NOT AGAIN!”
So it begins…
I got Christmas done and dusted – and then the real training started. First of all I took on the challenge of run everyday in January (which was REALLY tough), but I think it made me stronger for the weeks ahead of me. Then came my first significant long run on Friday 23rd February of 16 miles for which Jim joined me and Kat jumped on for a few miles, while Alan following the whole route on his bike, giving advice, carrying drinks, etc.
I think it was at this stage I noticed my times were getting better for Parkrun etc (achieving a pb of 24:45). Dave W soon jumped on board (after getting me an impressive pb at the Mad Dog 10k of 52:53) and announces he’s going to pace me for the BTR half Mara to a sub 2hr which I’ve never quite achieved. I’ll get back to this a little later…!
My next big run was a 17 miler on 10th March with Gemma. We ran to Parkrun with Fiona, then continued via New Brighton back to Leasowe. It was Gemma’s longest run to date and she did amazing. 17th March another long run done with Gemma; once again we went along the Wirral Way – this time 9 miles out and back, completing an impressive 18 miles. (Poor Gemma wasn’t well this day but she struggled on and did 12 difficult miles – she’s doing amazing!)
The BTR Liverpool Half Marathon
The next big milestone was BTR Half Marathon, me going for it big time with Dave W and Dave M on the start line (Fiona also joining). Dave M was pacing 1:55 so I thought there was no way I could stay with him – but see the pics – we smashed it! Loved it, finishing it with BTR teammies in an impressive 1:52:59… to say I was ecstatic would be an understatement!
Big thanks here to both Daves. This gave me such confidence in my pace and endurance, I knew at this stage I could get a time I’d be proud of in London.
The training continues
Easter was soon upon us. On Good Friday, I embarked on a 20 mile run to my brothers in Saughall, Chester. My cousin Jo set off an hour before and was hoping we wouldn’t catch her! Again, my teamies were fab; Dave W started off with me from Moreton with Dave M cheering us on; then it was onto Hoylake to meet Jane D, Beckie and Gina. We headed to the Wirral Way, where we were greeted by Laura (and a fab food and drink station), with a quick hello to Andrea too. We left Dave W in Heswall and headed up to the Hinderton Arms, where we said goodbye to Beckie and hello to Kat, Jen, Jacq and Maria for another fuel stop. Jane D and I then headed to up Two Mills… what a mistake, sorry Jane!! Who knew there was no footpath? With a cut leg and cut pants we finally got through to Two Mills, where hubby was waiting with more water. Then just that last final push to Saughall (although we never did catch Jo, who was chuffed after being chased like something off Benny Hill for 21 miles).
Finally, the next few weeks were “taper down” time. Still enjoying club runs, but definitely dropping the mileage. By now major excitement was setting in for everyone to see – I swear the week prior to London I couldn’t stop smiling!
After a great send off from the club on Tuesday, it was off to London!
The day dawns
Friday 20th arrived and we travel down to London, first class no less (thanks Jo). The hotel is fine, although I’m fuming a little; we have NO bath. The Expo was brill though, really enjoyable. A little sightseeing around London… dinner with Mum and Aunt… then off for an early night.
Up bright and breezy on Sunday and off to Greenwich. I leave Jo at the red start and make my way to the blue start to try and find Gemma. Not as easy as you might think… but I did find Hayley, fab to see a familiar face. At this stage the heat at this stage was already starting to worry me, but with my bag safely on board the wagons we head to our pens; still no sign of Gemma. We are in the same pen but both so dinky we can’t see each other! I made a quick phone call to hubby, who’s at home watching on tv…
So… OFF WE GO! I get to approx 2 miles when I hear that cute little Irish twang behind me shouting my name – yes, Gemma had (somehow) found me amongst 40,000+ runners! We stayed together for approx 10 miles and then left each other, our pace being at different rates.
Tower Bridge was my next awesome sight where I was stuck behind an orange octopus (which I think some of you saw on tv). [Editor: Yes we did – below!]
Frantically looking out for my Mum, I finally laid eyes on her at the end of the bridge, which gave me a massive boost. Onwards I kept going; by this point the heat was really starting to take its toll. I know I stopped at every water station (every mile), and if I didn’t drink the water I certainly doused myself with it; which is why I was completely drenched through!
Miles 15-20 go by in a blur. I was struggling but still smiling. It was so hot,hot, hot! I can’t explain how uncomfortable I was, but once I saw those 20+ mile markers I gave myself a good talking too, teling myself I could do this – it’s all in your head girl – “I can do this!”. At 22 miles I saw my lovely friend Jen and her hubby Neil, who watered and sun-creamed me up. I think I knew at this stage my time was going to be disappointing but in hindsight, with so many people on the sidelines being attended to by medics, I’m relieved I was sensible and slowed down to finish safely.
Then at mile bloody 25 – OMG – my gorgeous hubby and youngest son were screaming at me from the opposite side of the embankment! The pic they got of me as I saw them is my favourite of the weekend. After a quick cuddle and a kiss, I left them to finish what had to be the longest mile of my life. But then, there it was; Buckingham Palace in all its glory; and of course the The Mall and finish line.
I was happy beyond belief. I’d done it – I’d completed The London Marathon, proudly representing my club in orange! The finish line was amazing. The medal was amazing. Even the apple was amazing! Finding Gemma again was amazing and also seeing Tom was amazing.
Even though I’m a little disappointed with my time (4:47) it’s a pb, and an excuse to maybe try and better it one day. A friend said to me this week I will have to do it once more so I can leave each of my three sons a medal from The London Marathon – so maybe in a couple of years I’ll be back… (Shhhhh don’t tell Neil! The best spectators banner I saw was ‘If your still married, you haven’t trained hard enough’ LOL it’s so true!)
So once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart BTR Road Runners. I love being a part of such a great club. I love you all and I’ll never forget this experience.
wendy Marie Jones