Well I did it. In 5 hours and 55 minutes. It took approximately 10 seconds for someone to chant my name and I was hooked. The vital ingredient needed to send me pacing through the city. Akin to what rock stars must feel, or the closest I will ever get to it anyway. ‘I think I am going to like this,’ I thought to myself.
And from that moment on, I didn’t detach myself from the crowds. That was the only enhancer I was ever going to need. Yes, I took the energy gels on the hour, was on painkillers to keep my injury at bay and accepted enough sweets to warrant several cavities. By the way, thanks to those of you for jazzing up the selection by offering flumps and red liquorice strings! But to say that I was overwhelmed by the support I received on the streets of London last Sunday, is an understatement. I well up even now just thinking about it.
Forget the sights that runners pass along the way, the Cutty Sark, Tower of London, Tower Bridge (although admittedly approaching it was pretty awesome). The true stars of that day are the supporters. The old lady standing for hours holding her tin of boiled sweets, the St. John’s ambulance people handing out much needed chaffing relieving vaseline, kids holding their hands out excitedly awaiting that high five, and musical offerings from swing bands, steel drums, samba schools and random DJs with choice playlists (Keep on Running, Born to Run, Don’t Stop Me Now). Without them, we’d have been useless. I completely fed off them from start to finish.
And as naff as I still find the outfits, not to mention the impracticality, I have to admit that in times of agony, they did bring me moments of light relief. ‘So, did you practice training a lot wearing that?’ I said to man dressed as mole, ‘Yeah. Once or twice. Around south London. Had to be done,’ he replied. Got to give it to them, they’re a dedicated strange bunch.
Londoners, I salute you.