I did it. I completed the London Marathon. I ran non-stop for 26.2 miles and not once did I hit the infamous marathon “wall.” I crossed the start line with hip pain and other worries, and finished strong at 4:01:31. I owe my thanks to the unbelievable atmosphere and course support, especially from my friends in the crowd.
I’ve run races together with friends, where I enjoyed great company on the course.
I’ve run races completely by myself, where I could focus on my pace and aim for PBs.
I’ve run races where someone important said they’d come support me, only to sleep through the whole thing and text me at the finish line to ask if they were too late to show up (yes, asshole, I’m about to enjoy my post-run beer).
But the London Marathon was the first race where I had friends cheering on the sidelines, and at multiple mile markers. That was a game changer. Anticipating their presence at miles 10, 21, 23, and 25 made such a huge impact on my attitude and endurance. Time went by so quickly, having these checkpoints to look forward to. And even though I was only able to catch quick glimpses of the people I knew, it instantly made me happy to see them, and eager to push through the remaining miles.
Race day atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve experienced. In addition to my own supporters, there were so many random people in the crowds cheering my name, reading it from the custom print on my running vest. It was hilarious and uplifting at the same time. Countless pubs lined the course, with loads of people rooting us on, pint in hand. Moments like this remind me of why I love this city.
And I can’t forget about the ongoing support from family and friends here and back home. Memories of your encouraging words over the past few months of training echoed in my head during the event and motivated me to keep pushing. Thoughts of the £2,000+ you helped me raise for Music in Hospitals inspired me to run with pride.
They really weren’t lying when they said that London was the best choice for my first marathon. After the last couple weeks of pre-race worries, injuries, and feeling unprepared, I can’t believe it went as well as it did. Since I had such an incredible first marathon experience, I can confidently say I’ll stick to my word of never running another marathon. Sounds a little counter-intuitive, but it actually makes sense to quit while I’m ahead. London set the bar high, and I refuse to search endlessly for a better race day experience.
For now, I’m enjoying my rest period, but I’ll get back into leisurely running and adventurous international half marathons when I’m ready to get back on the road. Other than that, I can’t wait to incorporate more variety in my fitness activities, get back into my old creative hobbies, and take more time to travel again.
Thank you, London, for an unforgettable experience to commemorate my first year of living in this beatiful city. Next year, I’ll be on the sidelines cheering on the people who made it amazing for me.