Three London Marathons under my belt.
How good does that make me feel?
Sunday was brilliant and difficult at the same time. The difficulty was seeing Jen struggle. She was carrying a hip injury and was in pain after the first mile. From there it got worse and worse and worse.
She showed a determination to finish, and finish well, that was totally inspiring. I could hear the pain in her voice and see it in the way she was moving. She asked me to leave her after 9 miles but, having been there myself more than once, I stayed.
I wasn’t completely noble, I abandoned her at 21 miles. She had had enough and demanded I go. So I did.
I ran the last five, stopping only to drink some beer from a friendly Londoner who could see I was struggling. The sweet sugary taste catapulted me through the last two miles, the fastest two miles I ran.
I bounced up Birdcage Walk and as I rounded the bend, passed Buckingham Palace and under the “385 Yards To Go” bridge, I was jumping and punching the air.
I was on top of the world.
BBC Scotland’s Bryan Burnett was doing the on-course commentary and when he spotted me he gave the spectators a very flattering biography of me and our magnificent team.
I crossed the line, had a moment’s reflection, and then looked for people to hug. The medal lady was the first to get it followed by a geezer called Mark who was minding his own business in the Finishers photo queue. After his initial surprise he got quite into it.
The medal is a bit Jim’ll Fix It, but is beautiful.
It was chucking it down but I didn’t care. I hobbled up The Strand, oblivious to the pain and the rain, to the Strand Palace Hotel and the Parkinson’s UK reception.
Bob finished in 3 hrs 42 min, inside his 3 hrs 45 min goal (I achieved my stated objective of finishing by 3.45pm, crossing the line at 3.37pm, in 5 hrs 25 mins). Julie and Jo-Ann ran well and looked magnificent in their Wobbly Tartan Kilts.
Jen came in a few minutes after me. Shattered and sore but, being the star she is, she spoke to the press, smiled for the cameras and raised awareness of Parkinson’s yet again. Due to her injury her longest training run was less than 14 miles. She did well.
The day had started very smoothly. The start time was 9.45 and this year I left it until after the runners had vacated the city centre to start my journey to Greenwich Park. I met Jen at Bank at 9.15 and we only saw a couple of other runners on our journey to the start line.
We arrived at the red start at 9.55. By the time we had dropped our bags and had a pee, the back of the field was just coming up to the start line. We joined “Zone 9 – Elaborate Fancy Dress Costumes”. It was odd standing amongst condiments, rhinos and Oompah Loompahs. The air was rich with the smell of glue, paint and paper mâché. It is what I imagined the Blue Peter studio smells like any given Thursday.
We crossed the start line at 10.12 am and got into a steady 11 minutes per mile. I drank less and gelled less than usual and felt better for it. My groin held up well and everything felt fine.
TryAthlete and Bowen physio, Fiona Campbell, had taped my legs up with “special” tape which massages the muscles as you run. It was terrific – no cramp at all. Really impressed.
The journey home from London was long but there was a few marathon runners on the flight.
All wearing medals.
All walking like they had been freshly starched.
All knowing they had overcome personal battles and achieved something AMAZING.
Marathon number 7 – Copenhagen 20 May 2012.