A beginner’s view of the London Marathon
Race Report by Kelvin Elliott
After many weeks of training and putting my body through the mill of running in Snow, Sleet and Torrential Rain, Gales and Sunshine and having a mixture of good and bad training runs my marathon weekend had arrived. After travelling down on Friday and setting up base camp for the weekend at Stratford the home of the Olympic Stadium. It was time to raid the Expo at the Excel Centre to see what goodies and last minute advice to see me through. The big day soon arrived as we set off from Stratford the Massey Seven set off (Dave G, Nathan, Emma, Maggie, Rachel, Marie and Myself) getting the DLR to Greenwich. We soon arrived at our destination and we made our walk to start, it was like the March of the Penguins as there was hundreds of runners making their way. We arrived at the Red start and said farewell and good luck to Emma and Maggie.
We had nearly over an hour to wait so we were able to relax and use the facilities before setting off. The time went quick and we made are way to the baggage area and said are farewells before making are way to the pens where we were going to start. Marie and myself stuck together as we were in Red Zone Pen 9 which was towards the back. We slowly started moving forward then stop this went on for another 30 minutes before we set off. During the wait to the start we saw Rhino’s, Wombles, Toilet Seats, Nessa the 8ft nurse, Tigers plus many more weird and funny costumes. There was a lady in front of me who had balloons attached to her back they kept whacking me in the face, I wish I had something sharp to pop them. We were able to make a last minute toilet break before we were able to start.
The journey to the start came quickly and I set off on my 26.2 mile journey. As I set off out of Greenwich the roar of the crowd set us off as I made my way tackling the first couple of miles passing runners slowly in front of me. The first few miles were a blur because of the volumes of runners and before I knew it I made the 5k marker in good time. I was running at comfortable pace as I caught up with the 5.15mile pacer. I passed him and slowly progressed through the next couple of miles. Before I knew it I turned the corner and saw the Cutty Sark which looked very majestic.
The roar of crowd was deafening and you could see TV cameras above. I was still feeling really strong as I made my way through miles 7-12 taking in fluids at the various water and Lucozade stations. I saw many fancy dress runners throughout the run and there was a Karaoke man who kept singing “I love you baby” and “What a wonderful world” plus many more which kept runners and crowds of people entertained. I was pleased with the way my run was going as I approached the brilliant landmark of Tower Bridge. I crossed Tower Bridge thinking there might be a TV opportunity here and I thought the Massey wave and pose was needed. Unfortunately I didn’t get chance to photo bomb a TV interview I’d leave that to Dave Goodwin. After crossing Tower Bridge the crowds were massive and hearing lots of strangers shout your name there were many different interpretations of my name by people shouting, Elvin, Melvin, Kevin and the majority got my name right that was throughout the run.
As I approached the 13mile marker half way point I had made really good time and if I could maintain what I did for the first part of the course there were possibilities I could get a sub 5.30. That soon changed as I had a shooting pain in my rib and chest area and I was thinking what do I do here. I slowed my pace down and kept moving, I had to change my tactics as the next 13miles were going to be really tough. The pains gradually eased off as I passed 14miles. I could see a lot of runners passing the other way. My paced had dropped off and I kept slowly moving along the course as we headed towards Canary Wharf as I reached the 15mile mark I needed a quick toilet break and then it was hard to get going again so I had to walk and run.
At mile 16 I saw Emma and Marie coming passed me. It was good to see them both, I took on more fluids and gel to give me a boost. During this part of the run I starting to feel constantly cold as the sun had gone in and it was cloudy. My focus was to get to mile 19 to see my support crew. I must admit I didn’t take much in on the scenery during these miles as it was a mixture of running and walking. I got to mile 19 and I was pleased to see Eunice at the roundabout by Billingsgate market, she told me that I was seen on TV which lifted me up and it was the next 7 miles to take on. Seeing Eunice spurred me on as I made my way. I reached mile 20 and I saw Emma’s support crew Andy, Jane and Steve who gave me words of encouragement. The crowds were amazing during the last 6 miles as they would be constantly shouting your name. The miles seemed to be getting longer as I picked one off. I saw Kelli Boyde at mile 22 I think and it was not far to go. I was maintaining my steady pace as I passed my 23 and 24 as I was on the homeward journey back to the mall.
I was approaching the embankment and I could see the landmarks in the distance and the Thames on left hand side and hundreds of spectators still shouting your names. I was overtaken throughout the run by numerous Rhinos. Gorillas, a toilet seat, Minions, a Womble and many other various fancy dress runners. I over took a bearded lady that was a highlight. I had to weave past many runners who were now walking as I approached mile 25. The landmarks were getting closer and nearer. I knew the end was close as I could see Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and the crowd seemed to be getting bigger as the noise levels were getting louder. I was determined to try and finish stronger as I got closer to the finish as I headed past mile 26miles which was approaching Buckingham Palace I knew I was going to achieve something special. As I made the turning at the Buckingham Palace I could see the finish line which was amazing. I crossed the finish line feeling elated as it was my Olympic Gold moment and receiving the medal was fantastic. I collected my goody bag and made my way to pick up by bag at the drop off and then staggered to find Eunice at the meet and greet section.
I feel that this has been my greatest running achievement to complete a marathon and I now know what to expect if I decide to do another one. Atmosphere and Support was fantastic as well as been Emotional. Special well done to everyone who ran the marathon you were amazing and the supporters who were scattered and spread around the course who shouted your name as you passed them. My time was 6hrs 6m 54secs.