It took us 6 hours and 47 minutes but we did it. Boy did I underestimate how hard that would be! Much like our walk, this blog post is a long one! Let me try and explain the experience.
Getting off the DLR at Greenwich with thousands of other participants, the atmosphere was electric with nerves and excitement. On the walk up to the runners entrance in the beaming sunshine we saw an old friend Nat who I’ve not seen for a few years. Boost number 1! We left dad as we went into the runners area – sneaking mum in with us as she should have been at a different start. As we queued for the loo (for 20 mins!) we spoke to other runners all excited and nervous just like us. We dropped our bags off, snuck into the same starting pen and before we knew it, it was 10 minutes till the start of the mass race! Next came a really beautiful moment where the whole crowd of runners and spectators fell absolutely silent for Boston. At the end of the silence there was a huge roar and applause. It was very moving and a beautiful tribute to those that were injured and lost their lives last week.
Before we knew it we were crossing the start line. I gave Ben a big smacker on the lips and he was off, running into the distance. And our race began. It was pretty amazing being overtaken by thousands of runners. It took till about mile 8 before the actual runners stopped overtaking us. Then we were with the runner/walkers and the real walkers. It was a lot quieter and the atmosphere was different. By this time mum and I had already removed as many clothes as we could because it was so hot. ‘Those poor runners’, we kept saying. To this point the crowds had been amazing. We’d had our names shouted hundreds of times already. Loads of Eastenders shouting so passionately ‘go on Lucy, go on Sharron’. Lots of small kids holding their hands out for high fives. Mum loved it! If you ever take part in a marathon you must put your name on your shirt, it makes the experience unforgettable.
Now the whole time I’d had a headache and had also been feeling extremely tired and light headed. I put it down to these new pills. I’d been moaning a bit to poor mum but wasn’t really telling her how I was feeling because I didn’t want her to worry or make me stop. I was holding out for mile 12 as I knew London Bridge would be an epic site to see and would lift our spirits. And it was beautiful!!! The London Marathon is worth doing for that view alone. Amazing crowds and stunning views. Coming off the bridge we knew we were half way and that we were very likely to see Ben pass us in the other direction. That was worth walking for! At mile 14 Ben crossed past us (he was at mile 22). We had a quick chat and a cuddle and off he went looking strong! We walked on, at this point entering into the Docklands.
The crowds were still quite strong all through but we knew this would be the quieter bit of the marathon. The sun also went in which was disappointing! We just kept going at our 15 minute mile pace. At this point I checked my phone and saw I had something like 120 Facebook notifications, twitter messages, texts and missed calls from all of my amazing friends and supporters. I didn’t realise there were so many out there!!! You kept us going, thank you so much. Mum and I quickly agreed that mile 16 was a big moment, only 10 to go and that when we got there we’d feel better mentally. By mile 16 we’d been walking for 4 hours.
The marathon kept rolling on and we kept walking, stopping for a brief loo break and a chat on the phone with dad and Ben. We started moaning a lot around mile 19. Our feet were really sore and mums hip was really starting to hurt her. Again I hadn’t told mum but I felt very faint. By the time we hit mile 22 I was looking out for St Johns ambulance in case I needed to stop. I remember walking past one around 22.5 miles and questioning whether I should actually stop and get my blood pressure tested. I didn’t – instead I had some juice to drink and I felt a bit better.
Then it was the moment I’d been waiting for, seeing my best friends. Corinne and Megs were about half a mile apart from each other. I hugged them so tight and bless them they asked ‘how is it?’. I said ‘its horrible!’ so we moved on quickly as not to lose momentum. Keep walking I was chanting, as we’d both developed bad blisters and mums hip finally went and she started to limp. At 25 miles we saw dad and his friends and mum cried (so cute!). And that was the best bit, that final mile. Past Big Ben round the corner and onto the home straight. There were still beautifully thick crowds of people telling us how strong and amazing we were. As we turned the corner Buckingham Palace to our left and the finish to our right we started to well up. For me, all those months of training, the ups and downs, the friends and family that I knew were a very short distance away, so close. We crossed it, we paused for pics, had a cuddle and cried a lot. I will never forget seeing my mum get a London marathon medal placed round her neck and her saying in her high pitched south London voice ‘I don’t believe this!’.
The marathon had been tough but beautiful. I’d gone from feeling like a fraud for walking it to feeling proud for completing it. I definitely couldn’t have completed it without my amazing mum, who at this moment is still limping around with a badly damaged hip. All of the messages our supporters have given us in the lead up and through the race genuinely kept us going and nothing showed this better than our next experience.
We walked out into the crowds where I met Benny who hobbled his way over with his sister Cecsa, her husband Chris and kids Georgia and Harry. They all gave me and mum such great cuddles. My friends Bob and Nick were there too. Bob had waited around all day to see us come in: legend! We strolled up to the British Academy, walked in and I couldn’t believe it, all my work friends and the Oxfam volunteers were on the stairs cheering us. Me and mum just burst into hysterical tears! It was such a brilliant thing to see. Definitely one of my favourite marathon moments! Erika, Kate, Aggie, Alex, Kulzum and Suz all came over for a cuddle. It was amazing (I know I’ve said that a lot through this but it all was so amazing!).
So it’s done. Ben’s completed his first (and probably only!) marathon. Mum completed the marathon at 59 years old. I’ve done my second London marathon, completely differently to my first and my stupid diseases didn’t stop me.
If you think we’re worth a sponsor you can donate here. I’m going to rest now and I’ll write one final blog post sometime this week. Thanks for your support.