I took on the 2018 London Marathon for Girlguiding
Beth took on the challenge of a lifetime when she ran the Virgin Money London Marathon for Team Girlguiding. She fills us in on the highs, lows and the heat of the day…
The crowds were roaring, I was smiling from ear to ear I knew I had this in the bag!
The night before
The training had been completed, all six months of it through the coldest winter I could remember, multiple snow storms, rain, sleet and hail. My bag was packed and I was on the coach to London, this was when it started to really hit home that I was about to run one of the world’s major marathons!
The nerves were setting in, the reports were that it would be hot and could be the hottest! It turned out to be the hottest London Marathon on record!
This is the marathon!
There are three starting areas for the London Marathon, I was in red with most of the other charity runners. It was busy and buzzing and there were people everywhere. I was feeling good and spoke to a few other runners.
We slowly moved towards the start in our pen before being released on to the marathon course.
All the excitement had built up and then suddenly you realise that this is it, you are running the London Marathon, no turning back now, no more training this is it, THIS IS THE MARATHON!
I knew my boyfriend was waiting at the 10km marker, that kept me going. The crowds were great, even in the areas where it was mainly housing they were out in force supporting. It was warm, it was sunny but everyone at this point was enjoying the run.
Just before 10km I found another friendly face in the crowd of runners (someone I know from guiding) and then I found my boyfriend, had a hug and a picture and pushed on.
I clocked off the miles slowly but surely, my pace had slowed as the heat had risen. I didn’t mind - finishing was my ultimate goal here.
The last three miles were along the Embankment. It’s hard to really convey the crowd support through these words. Initially it was overwhelming and daunting, the noise was so loud and you couldn’t look at anything without seeing a sea of faces. By 23 miles though they were the best thing ever.
The support not just from random strangers but from other charities as well was immense, choking back tears a few times made me realise how much this meant to me.
The spectators really showed their #SpiritofLondon that day.
At 400 meters to go I hear my name screamed so loudly from the sides. It was my GOLD 2014 team who had travelled down to support me, I ran over with the biggest smile and gave them a wet sweaty hug and they cheered me off to the finish.
24 miles, two to go, this is easy I said to myself, you can do that no problem. Those were the longest two miles of the whole thing, the Embankment seemed to get longer with every step you took and I had no idea where Big Ben or Buckingham Palace were. I walked up towards the 25 mile marker making a deal with myself that I would run the last mile no matter what!
Round the last corner and apparently the Palace was there but all I could see was the massive sign saying 385 yards to go! The crowds were roaring, I was smiling from ear to ear I knew I had this in the bag!
Crossing that finish line I was so happy, I congratulated the lady next to me and we had a little congratulations hug (no I didn’t know who she was and never will).
I had a medal put around my neck and it hit me, I am a marathon runner!
I had a little cry at this point, the hard work in training, the heat of the day, the challenge. It had all been well worth it!
Don’t doubt yourself
Two days after finishing the London Marathon I am already looking at my next marathon challenge. For those who would love to do it (especially for Girlguiding) and are doubting themselves, DON’T! You can do it, I only ran my first half marathon in 2017 and here I am.
My top tips are:
- Have some sort of training plan.
- Try and find others to do some training runs with (running club, friends etc) this make its less lonely for weeks of training.
- Enjoy the day, this was the hottest London Marathon on record and I’m glad I enjoyed the day more than pushing for a PB and becoming ill.
- Trust your training, it sounds silly but you would have put in the hour and miles and this is your victory lap now!
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