There is a common perception about London. That for such a densely populated metropolis, it can be a cold and lonely place.
That folk don’t talk to each other unless they have to.
That communication with strangers on the tube network is punishable by firing squad.
Having lived here for 15 years, I can’t exactly dispel these myths as completely untrue (except maybe the last one, but I’ve not been caught yet so can’t say for sure).
When I lived closer to the centre, I think our Neighbours spoke to us twice in the 7 years we were there. One of those occasions was to inform us they had a flooded kitchen and thought we were to blame.
Knowing this makes The London Marathon all the more special as an event. It’s one of the best supported marathons in the world, with thousands lining almost every part of the course from start to finish.
Before I ran my first marathon in 2009, I had been along to join the hordes on several occasions, and loved it. It was partly the atmosphere while watching it that made me want to take part in it.
Thousands of folk, some of them not knowing anyone at all taking part, stand in the street and clap cheer and shout encouragement to complete strangers. (this is where printing your name on your top becomes vital)
Some of them give out jelly babies (for short term energy boosts), others play musical instruments. It’s like one massive 26 mile long street party where everyone gets along and talks to complete strangers, wishing them the best of luck on their way.
The collective atmosphere of positivity is mind blowing and all the more so because it’s coming from the guy who tutted because you accidentally bumped him on the tube weeks before, when you weren’t holding onto the bar properly you IDIOT.
It’s the most Un-London thing that could happen in the capital. But it’s the same every year, so it’s no fluke.
Pubs have special marathon parties along the route but it’s not the alcohol that is making Londoners take a day off from being their usual stone hearted selves, I reckon its a combination of knowing how much personal effort each and every runner is putting in (usually easy to tell by looking at their faces) combined with the fact a massive amount of them are doing it for a range of good causes. It’s pretty hard to find anyone of the 36,000 taking part who are doing it for purely selfish reasons. With so many positive reasons flowing through the course like a big do-gooding wave, it’s no surprise the spectators get caught up in it too.
So, it’s almost here. Tomorrow is the big day (depending on when you read this I guess)
Despite the fact my physio has told me to expect my ITB knee to really hurt at some point, and also my memories of the last 5 miles when I ran it in 2009 I am absolutely looking forward to it.
You know when you are dying for a pee (stay with me here) and you have held it in on a long journey home, enough for it to make you worry but you’re still in control. Then when you get to your door, all of a sudden your brain/bladder are like kids on Xmas morning and you have a last minute panic before finally reaching your toilet?
That’s kinda like what today has been like. After a long patient wait, now that it’s so close I just really want to get started, despite the challenge ahead.
It’s probably similar to pregnant women. When they get close to term, They just want to get the it all over with. They get bored of the waiting, and they want the labour to start ASAP even though they know what labour means for them.
In fact, a marathon attempt is really like pregnancy the more I think of it, because at the end of all the preparation in both of them, you take part in a painful event that can last hours, which makes you pull some awful faces in front of strangers (midwives/supporters)
I do it all without an epidural though, so I guess that makes mine harder…
I remember finishing in 2009 being quite emotional, but the whole race will be charged with it this time because of the reason I’m running.
Also because recently a good friend of ours passed away suddenly and he would have been running in the marathon. Eoin was the perfect guy for an event like this. A larger than life personality that made everyone around him smile but never quite as big as the grin he would give you back. I had hoped to take his number round the course with me, but couldn’t so I’ve added his name to my own number, so that he will still complete the 2014 course.
One thing I try to do in races, is to acknowledge in some way, every person who shouts encouragement at me. So if you see me in a blue vest with GRAEME & SANDS on it, then you can test out this claim.
Anyway I should be sleeping by now so I’ll sign off. I don’t even have time to review this so apologies for typos and the like.
Tomorrow morning between 9am and 10am GMT I’ll be checking my twitter feed for any #Run4Dexter tweets, so send some to me as a wee last minute boost.