Let’s face it. The London Marathon is quite a naff affair. Firstly there’s the hideous fun-run outfits ranging from rhinos to Darth Vaders, superheros, angry birds and a cacophony of men dressed as women. Then there’s the worthiness of it all and the feeling of ‘oh god, not this boring bunch of do-gooders clogging up the TV again’. Sort of in the same vein as Red Nose Day and Comic Relief. And finally. Radcliffe having a sh*t. Probably the worst PR stunt an event has ever seen. But can it ever recover from this??
Well, I will be attempting to help out this somewhat uncool race shake off the naff-tag stigma by running the damn thing on April 21st as well as proving that its not just about elites and what I like to call ‘the crazees’.
You see, runners can be normal people too, believe it or not. Yes, I have bought into the whole running gear thing; day glo water bottles, bum bags full to the brim with jelly babies and knee supports. But that’s just buying stuff to make you feel like you’re actually part of this weird tribe. When a fellow marathoner tells me, ‘If I finish in less than 4 hours, I’ll be happy,’ I grin through gritted teeth ‘That’s great’, when I actually feel like saying, ‘Bite me’. Because, no matter how much training I’ve done, I will still struggle to make it in under 6 hours, because I AM NORMAL. I mean, I have tried to follow a basic training programme as best I can, but at the end of the day, I will probably be overtaken by more than one pensioner, because I AM NORMAL.
But all that doesn’t matter really. The point is finishing… well at least, before the street cleaners arrive. That’s probably what the Olympic legacy has left imprinted on us perhaps. I do hate to play the London 2012 card, but it is true. Not only did it make athletics and supporting all kinds of sports generally cool, it motivated people to at least try to do something they might not have done before, but always wanted to. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to replaying myself approaching the finishing line in slow-mo with Chariots of Fire in my head at least 50 times. Yes that feeling of champion-like euphoria is an intoxicating one and I hope it will inspire more of us ‘norms’ to follow suit.
As much as we like to mock it, I’d defy anyone to try pounding the London pavement for an abnormal amount of time, meandering through all our beloved city sights, with thousands of people cheering you on, including friends and family without shedding one bit of emotion. I know I won’t.
To see how I get on, watch this space for part deux……
The London Marathon takes place this year on Sunday 21 April
Image by paul-simpson.org courtesy of Flickr