On Sunday 21st April 2013 I ran my first marathon – the Virgin London Marathon (VLM). We has spent December and January in Spain in the motor home and training conditions were excellent – warm, dry and sunny every day and lots of varied running around La Manga on the Costa Calida. In February we went to the French Alps to ski and I did no running for the whole month. So when we came back to the UK I had to work hard to get the training back on track before I started tapering three weeks before the marathon. The weather was cold and wet, not what we had hoped to come back to in the spring.
We went to London in the motor home on the Wednesday before the marathon so plenty of time to register, recce the start and try out the train journey from the campsite at Abbey Wood to Greenwich. On the day of the marathon it was dry, sunny and quite warm so I was pleased about that. We met up with several other South Cheshire Harriers at Greenwich and then I went off to the starting pen to get ready. After a 30 second silence for the Boston Marathon casualties the race got under way. I was quite far forward so it didn’t take too long to go over the starting mat. I saw Mel at a pre-arranged spot at about 7 miles and gave him a smile for a photo. The first half of the race went well, I ran a consistent 10 minute mile pace and went through 13 miles in about 2 hours 11 minutes. Feeling good I stopped to go the toilet and then I met up with Bobby Hickman from Potters Trotters. We kept each other going for a while but I was beginning to find it hard and Bobby left me behind by the time we got to about 22 miles. I was pleased to get a cheer from the Hattons and Di Smith as I approached Big Ben but I just wanted it to be over then. As I came past Buckingham Palace I heard the commentator say about 18000 runners had crossed the line out of 36000 so I was about half way through the field so I was happy. I finished in 4 hours 40 minutes and was satisfied with that. I met Mel in St James’ Park and was relieved to see him; I felt quite good but a bit shaky and emotional. We caught the train back to Abbey Wood and I was so glad to get back to the motor home and have a shower and put my feet up. Glad it was over, pleased with my achievement but not sure I would do it again!