The trip to the big City commenced early Friday morning. The better half and I were met at Wigan train station by Julie Platt, her better half and Bobby and Andy who were joining us a) to support and b) to celebrate or commiserate Bobby’s last weekend of FREEDOM. To say the journey to London was an experience is an understatement. Two carriages had been taken off, thus the train was packed! Thank goodness we’d got 1st Class (well Julie, Dave, Andrew & I) the other two were with the commoners, and Dave had been separated from us.
I tried as much as possible to relax prior to the race but that really didn’t happen – shopping on Friday – have a guess who with? – We met Andrew and Dave in the pub following the shopping spree. Expo Saturday with Jacqui, Jayne, Julie and Dave. Dave wore his Wigan hat with great pride – with the bells ringing. In bed both nights at 9pm, though I heard every man and his dog returning from the pub Saturday morning and was greeted by a slightly intoxicated Mr Meadows at 2:30am. Andrew never even came back to our room on Saturday night with fear of unsettling me. He slept with Bobby and Andy (not in the literal sense I hope) but in Andy’s bed while Andy was on the floor.
The morning of the race I felt okay, I’d slept well so all I had to do was run! The journey to the start was eventful – I got the wrong tube panicking and was almost in continent of urine! I arrived at the start by 9am but got stuck behind the 4hr marker. I tried to negotiate with a deaf guy (marshal) to let me through but he wasn’t having any of it! I remained relaxed and worked my way through passed the 3:30 marker by 3miles. From 5 miles in my right hip flexor was stiffing but I manage to run through it but was conscious of it although the race up to 18miles.
It was a lovely day – too hot for my liking and the crowds were amazing. It’s great when you reach 12.5miles and you run over Tower Bridge, that’s my favourite part of the race, other than the end. I saw and heard Wigan supporters at 14 mile just prior to seeing the elite men pass on the opposite side. I had to focus and rely on the Lords Prayer and the counting techniques offered by the Oracle to get me through Canary Wharf. Coach Waddy told me he’d be around this area so I had to focus, however he told me later he wasn’t there, but the thought of him shouting kept me going. I saw ‘Marathon Man’ Bazzer at 22miles and the rest of the group just before 23miles. Just after the MASSIVE WALL appeared. My hamstrings felt though they had been horrendously shortened and Colin (the Chimp) was on form. I saw Big Ben, yet it felt like I was running through treacle and not making progress – at this point I walked 3-4 steps but the pain was horrific and it was better to run (well attempt). Counting, The Lords Prayer and what ever helped I did through the last 3miles.
I told myself from 5miles in that I would never do another Marathon and that my body is more built for shorter distance. I agreed (only in my head) that I would train but not race Marathons and this was the first thing said to Jacqui and Jayne when they were at the end – commenting “till the next one.” I slid down a wall and knew I could not have done anything more on the day.
A massive thanks to Dave Waddington (coach) for his guidance, advice, slight bullying and keeping me on track while he was traveling around Europe. A big thank you to Andrew who has put up with my training commitments and moaning…. Thanks to Nina who dropped off part way through owing to Waddy encouraging her to ski and ending up almost an amputee, thus she had to be replaced by Mr Paul Bryers. But finally a Big Thanks to my running wife Mrs Platt who, come rain or shine is there running (sometimes hours behind schedule) and forever conversant and ready for the next outing – It’s confirmed I’m running Liverpool Marathon (only as a long run,) so I’m told on 25 May.