I have been apprehensive about this race for a number of reasons.
I arrived in London about 8:15 and headed to waterloo costa for some breakfast, eating at 6:30am just isn’t my thing when I’m not running until 9:54 (or so I was meant to be!). Once I’d eaten I wandered over and found my Mum who was volunteering. She was marshalling the start but admitted they didn’t know how they were meant to differentiate between waves! I used her map to find the bag drop which was a 10-15 minute walk around down the Mall, not very well signposted, had I not had the map I wouldn’t have known where I was going. Bag drop was a bit of a mess with volunteers trying to pair wristbands with stickers, me and a gentleman I was chatted with joked we would be lucky to get our own bags back! Once I’d dropped my bag I headed down to Admiralty arch where the toilets were before walking down horse guards parade and back to the ‘Welcome’ area.
Being alone I found a fellow solo runner and asked if she could take a picture of me and we got chatting. We decided that we would try and get round to the start as there were no announcements to say who should be lining up and who shouldn’t so we just decided to go for it. I’m glad we did as we still ended up starting 2 waves later than we should have done. The ‘start’ was long and slow. It felt like each wave was only letting 100 people through as we often barely moved. Eventually we got to the start and across it!
The first few kms were cramped and involved a lot of dodging around slower runners and walkers, it was frustrating but expected. Eventually it spread out a bit, although it was never quiet. I guess I’ve got way too used to smaller races where I end up running alone for most of it.
The route took us from opposite the London eye, along through Blackfriars underpass, down to tower bridge where we did a U turn before heading back the way we had come, then taking a right turn after the underpass and into the St Pauls area of the city. The map makes it look like we looped, we didn’t, it was 2 u-turns, before heading back onto Embankment for the final stretch to the finish.
Most of the route you were running with runners either ahead of you on the other side of the road or you ahead of them. This meant I got to look out for friends and spotted a few. As such I was paying very little attention to my pace. Having done 13 miles yesterday I wasn’t planning to push immensely.
But something tends to happen when I’m running in my Lullaby Trust vest. I’m running for a reason. Its not just about me. Its about challenging myself and pushing my limits to help raise lots of £s for them to help fund their research and their family support. Its about running in Matilda’s memory and continuing her legacy. So I found myself running faster than I expected. At 5k I realised I had the potential to PB. When I reached 5 miles and realised with a kick I could PB I pushed harder. When I got to 5.80 and knew with just 0.42 to go I needed to kick it up a gear I did. My garmin clocking a average pace of 7:50 and across the line! I grabbed my phone out my bag, opened up my garmin app and checked my old PB against my watch! Then had a few tears when I realised I’d done it. I’d done it for Tilda. Tomorrow is 2 years since she passed away. The least I could do was to run my hardest to help with my fundraising efforts. Please do sponsor me at www.justgiving.com/24events24months. A 55second PB is worth a few quid right? Especially when done the day after a 13 mile run!
The finish was rather disorganised but eventually I located a medal. I was disappointed it wasn’t one of those races where you cross the line and someone places a medal around your neck and tells you well done but I guess with such large numbers it wasn’t possible. A quick polar bear hug and I made a jog to the bag drop. Walking that distance meant I’d start to feel the cold quick so despite my ITB starting to tighten I made a speedy jog to thankfully receive my bag and not someone else’s!
Would I do it again? No.
Am I glad I did it? Yes. It was an experience!