London Marathon as a spectator

posted in: Running | 1

Huge congratulations to everyone who ran the London Marathon on Sunday! I hope you’re all still wearing your medals and the pain is starting to subside.

For the first time ever Matthew and I headed into town to watch the race live. I’m not a huge fan of crowd situations where one might struggle to find a toilet. Our friend Simon was running, so we absolutely wanted to be there to cheer him on!

We watched the runners from just past the halfway point as runners head out to Canary Wharf, which has the great advantage that you then see them again as they head back into town towards the finish at about mile 22.

Miles sevel to 22]

We arrived in time to see the elite men pass us on their way out:

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It was so exciting, as before them were a tight pack of elite women (who we missed) and then you’re just waiting….you know they’re coming, and you can hear the cheering getting louder….then come the bikes, and vans, and more bikes….then they’re there and everyone’s going nuts.

Bloody hell do these guys go fast! I am in genuine awe and it was fantastic to see the speed with the naked eye.The men lead the masses at London so from thereon, there were people passing pretty constantly. We spotted: two lobsters, a dinosaur, a chameleon, an elephant, Banana Man, Superman, Venom, Spiderman, several beer bottles, various fairies, a camel (two runners as humps, the front one holding the head), three rhinos (they seemed to have very limited visibility and were actually charging through people: bad for runners, but made for fun spectating), a turtle, an eye (random), and so many more great costumes.

How the hell people run in these things is absolutely beyond me.

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We manage to spot Simon and made sufficient noise that he had no chance of missing us. Soon after he passed, the elites returned followed by a decent stream of people coming in the other direction.

And what a difference those nine miles make, eh? People sailed passed on the way out, with smiles and waves. Things seemed a little tenser on the way back, with several people shouting at themselves, sweating and grimacing (but mercifully no puking). Apparently the bit through Canary Wharf is a bit thin on the ground for spectators and on a Sunday, it’s pretty much a closed financial district. Maybe in future years we’ll go out there to cheer people on where the most need it.

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It was fun spotting how people had changed their pace; dinosaur and chameleon were neck and neck at mile 13, but dinosaur had a good ten-minute lead by mile 22. Simon looked like he was digging deep by mile 22, but to the outsider, his gait still looked easy and effortless. (He assures us he had cramp in three different places in his legs). It was incredible how some people just made it look easy whereas others wore every bit of their pain on their sleeves. I know which camp I fell into when I did my one-and-only marathon 🙁

Once we’d seen Simon on his way to the finish, we headed there ourselves on the tube. We knew he’d beat us there, but  decided to prioritise seeing him twice further up the course, and the crowds at the finish would have probably prevented us from seeing him at all anyway.

By the time we got there, Simon had his goodie bag and his belongings, and was at our agreed meeting point outside Horse Guards Parade on Whitehall. This is conveniently very near his work so he popped there for a shower.

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As you can imagine, all the nearby pubs were absolutely rammed. We decided to head up into the West End, and ultimately realised getting food was the only sure-fire way to get a seat somewhere (something Simon seemed oddly intent on). We went to Sophie’s Steakhouse, where scandalously three of us had macaroni cheese. Matthew represented on the steak front, and Simon polished off a cheeseburger.

When we discovered Haribo ice cream on the menu, it was a done deal:

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From there, we went to meet Simon’s friends who were at a nearby sports bar watching the football. They rewarded Simon with a beer giraffe – three litres/5+ pints of beer (good job he was off work yesterday!):

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The medal was seriously chunky. I really really REALLY want one of these for myself. Me and the marathon have a difficult relationship. I really admire the distance, and absolutely want to have done another one. I just don’t know the I especially want to actually do the running 26.2 miles bit See my dilemma?

So for now, here’s this photo of Simon’s medal. He did it in 3:40 which is an amazing time, especially since it’s his first marathon – WELL DONE SIMON!!!

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One Response

  1. […] motivation for me is the support and enthusiasm around races. There were 41 City Runners doing the London Marathon, and the club was out in force to cheer them on. They often go to races as a club, and support […]

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