London 2015 saw 9 Ponteland Runners participate, fantastic to see such presence of our club at the event. Well done Matthew Bell, Joanne Brown, Suzanne Dunn, Jason Old, Paul Quigley, Elaine Stroud, Elliot Ward, Nick Winslow and Paul O’Neil who’s not listed above as not showing as a Ponteland Runner in the results.
Picture left shows Elliot, Matty and Paul.
Suzanne Dunn experienced her first Marathon and has posted a great race report below….
VLM – my first marathon experience.
A week to go and the nerves started to kick in big time. How far? Seriously? Who was I trying to kid! Decided that the only way I would get through the final 7 days would be to consume my body weight in fuel, so in the name of training I did. And very enjoyable too it was. Sleep became impossible, waking up at 5am after dozing off around 1:30am became the norm. As did the nightmares about falling over and breaking both ankles the day before!
Somehow hubby and I made it to Friday in one piece, travelled down on train straight to the Expo to collect my number. Strangely enough it was when number 13,588 was officially in my hands that calm arrived, nerves left and bundles of excitement descended upon me. Strangely enough we left Expo having resisted buying any of the overpriced running apparel, hubby was suitably impressed to say the least. (I was far too excited to shop).
Bright and early on Saturday, another spontaneous 5:30 wake up, and we travelled into London for two nights of luxury hotel. Hubby had decided that if he had to spend hours being cheerful watching random runners in the hope that I might pass by that we might aswell have a nice weekend. (As you can tell he’s a non runner, and rapidly getting fed up of trailing around the country being my one man cheering squad).
Saturday was spent chilling and resting legs. Sunday finally arrived to grey, fog and drizzle. Perfect, this made me feel someone was looking down on me already and cheering me on. Yesterday had been sunny blue skies and hot; perfect for the tens of thousand spectators but certainly not us runners/plodders.
Water taxi to Greenwich was a master stroke, as we avoided all huge tube queues. Arrived calm. Several loo trips later and an emotional goodbye and I was on my own, alongside 38,000 runners. Attempted to carry an air of indifference and look experienced. Don’t think it worked.
Off we went, finally escaping Peter Andres commentary in the starting pens.
My race plan was to start slowly, and when I say slowly I mean 11-12 minute mile. The smile beamed across my face like a delirious maniac for 6 miles, reached the Cutty Sark, paused for a photo and carried on basking in my glory whilst crowds ten deep cheered and chanted my name. Felt like a pop star, just a bit less glamorous. Reached 11 miles easily (well I was doing average 11min mile) nipped behind a bush (loo queues were huge) and plodded on, still with ridiculous smile. Still hadn’t put earphones in, as crowd were absolutely rocking it.
Floated over Tower Bridge, had a teeny emotional moment as it was one of those iconic moments that I’d been thinking about for months. It really was as amazing as I thought it would be. Looking good (probably not really) and feeling good by this point having reached half marathon at 2:39 (only 22 minutes slower than my fastest 1/2) , well chuffed. Decided not to feel perturbed by the fact that a cheesy string, a green and purple dinosaur, batman & the joker plus several rhinos had overtaken me. Not to worry, I had at least caught up with some of the senior citizens who had whizzed past whilst I was crouched in a bush.
Through the financial district was LOUD, cheers from both sides of the road flanked by shimmering glass skyscrapers pushed me on for what was probably my speediest few miles. Then the twinges began at 18 miles, little niggle in buttock, slight click in knee, tiny burning of feet. Switch off, listen to the crowd, they think I’m the greatest, arms in air to celebrate.
At 20.5 miles it all went horribly wrong. Right knee decided that it was going no further and protested very loudly. Limped on much to its disgust, to the 21 mile marker and St Johns Ambulance where a guardian angel strapped both knees whilst I stood holding on to her shoulders. Medic suggested sitting and resting. Was he serious? Did he really think I could have DNF against my name? Feet like punching him in face, but instead thanked him ever so politely and left him shaking his head in despair. Decided to stretch the legs out and walk for a bit so texted the family, had a group chat, couple of selfies with the crowd and a phone call with hubby. Okay, back to the task in hand – complete this marathon. Smile was less ear to ear by now but still very much there. Took a ridiculous 55 minutes to complete the next 5k. Slight annoyance with self at this point. Had hoped to be absolutely on fire running down Embankment, instead I rather comically ran/limped in the style of elephant man which seemed to encourage even more crowd support.
Finally reached 25 miles and there was hubby, sister, brother in law and 9 year old niece (who didn’t look impressed) so it was time to look energetic, leap, dance and pose for photos and burst into ten seconds of energy until out of their sight off towards Buckingham Palace.
The finish was amazing. By this time another rhino had just overtaken me, and an ostrich stopped to lay an egg right in front of the viewing stands. A lovely lady ran beside me, so we joined hands and crossed the finishing line arms in air and promptly burst into tears together. That was it. I’d done it. 26.2 miles. Collected my medal as if it was solid gold. Shuffled along and collected goodie bag. Not interested. Had numerous photos taken, by this time tears in full flow. Shuffled further to meeting point D , sat in middle of road and removed shoes. Heavenly.
In summary after all this waffle: This event was everything and so much more than I had dared to hope for. My only goal was to finish, in one piece. A teeny part of me was aiming for sub 5 hours , but after running for 5 hours, 46 minutes and 8 seconds I was deliriously happy to say the least to cross the finishing line.
Don’t tell hubby, or my 3 daughters, but that was THE best day of my life!
Medal will be framed and hung somewhere very prominent, probably in the hall, just to remind everyone that I ran the London Marathon. Now what are the chances of me getting another ballot place for next year? Here’s hoping.