Virgin London Marathon 2016

First marathon: 3:16

I’m not sure I’ll ever forget this one. It was my first official big race (except for 10k, half marathons etc) and it really opened my eyes to how amazing running in a major event could be.

I gained a place through work, running for Northants and Warwickshire Air Ambulance, see the Charity page for more info about that. I really went for this being my first marathon, and stuck to my training plan more closely than I have ever stuck to one.

My target was 3:30, although I intended to aim for a slightly quicker pace to make sure I could flake out at the end and still make it!

When people tell you about the atmosphere at London, you can’t quite imagine it unless you’ve been there. The crowd are amazing and they alone are probably worth 5 minutes off your time. Rows of people deep all cheering you on as if you were the first person to pass them. By a long way I wasn’t!

Bethan, my better half, managed to navigate around to cheer me on at mile 6 and 23, not an easy task especially when you’re 30 weeks pregnant.

I stuck to the plan until mile 19 or so then it got a lot trickier. Rather than trying to keep my target pace, I was just trying to keep a pace. The crowd helped no end, especially as I had my name on my shirt. It’s quite humbling to have so many strangers cheering you on from the sidelines and, when i was rapidly running out of energy, that was just what I needed.

Even as I approached the line (and yes the “385 yards to go sign” still feels like an age away by that stage), I was still over the moon, albeit totally empty, emotionally and physically:

I think we can all tell that the mouth is smiling but the face is knackered

I crossed line in 3:16 and I could not have run a second quicker. An altogether amazing experience which I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone, whatever ability. It is a must for anyone at one point in their lives.

Every year I try and get back in through the ballot to repeat the experience and hopefully my time will come again soon