Virgin Money London Marathon: Sunday 26th April 2017.

We arrived in London on the Friday and went to our hotel which was the Premier Inn at Stratford. Stratford has good transport links and is walking distance from the Hackney Marsh parkrun which we had decided to do on Saturday. We went to the Expo on the Friday, to pick up my husband’s number and look around. there were lots of excited people, it was buzzing.

They had lots of nice sports stuff but we didn’t buy anything but we ate free sample of anything on offer. We listen to a great talk by Martin Yelling and Paula Radcliffe and saw a few people we knew.

We had dinner at a restaurant in the Westfield Centre in Stratford. There are so many restaurants to choose from and it’s important prior to a marathon to eat well. After the healthy dinner we had a great big dessert.

On Saturday morning we walked via the Olympic Park to the Hackney Marsh parkrun. It’s a pretty parkrun, the whole area of Stratford has had a massive change in the last 20 years when I used to live in London.

Hackney Marsh parkrun is flat and so is also the type of course that would give you a PB. I was surprised that there were not even more runners.Afterwards we walked back to our hotel via the Olympic Park which I’d never seen before. We had the photo taken in front of the West Ham United Football Stadium which used to be the Olympic Athletic Stadium.

After parkrun we had a fairly restful day and had a healthy dinner out and early to bed so my husband and friend were ready for the Marathon the next day.

On Sunday morning it was quite a warm morning. I said goodbye to my husband and friend and was hoping it didn’t get any hotter. They had both done the marathon a number of times so they knew the routine. One thing we always do is put all our luggage in the baggage lorry, then pick it up at the end, meet at the Lions at Trafalgar Square, then go back home on the train. We don’t bring too much stuff.

It was interesting watching for a change. I couldn’t believe that out of all the people I knew who were running it, I only spotted two! I didn’t even spot my husband. It got hotter and hotter. I was not in the shade. I felt sorry for the runners who had to run the heat. I stood near the 17 mile mark and the lady next to me got a phone call from her husband saying he had pulled out. I then started worrying about my husband, I thought “what if he’s collapsed somewhere”, even a man tree and a lady tree had come past and I still hadn’t seen him. I had run in the London Marathon for last 3 years, twice by ‘good for age’ and once by gaining a place in my Club ballot. Initially I was disappointed I didn’t get a place in the ballot but as the day when on and it became hotter and hotter, deep down inside I now thought “this is not the year to run it”. Eventually, I though I must of missed him and went to the finish line.

Our friend had collapsed at the finish and was taken to the medical tent, so unfortunately not a good race for him. My husband jogged around. The finish was chaos, because instead of meeting at the Lions our friend wasn’t in the best condition to move. Finally, we got on the train at Euston, went to the Super First Class Virgin Lounge and had a shower, food and drinks followed by a gentle train ride home.

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