London Marathon

LONDON MARATHON 2nd October 2022 by Lynne Dowdy
Here's a brief reflection, yes I know it's long but I could write a book about the last 16 weeks! But before I start I must say this.
I feel very privileged that I can run and that I was able to run London Marathon on 2nd October 2022 with my daughter Emma, very sadly not everyone completed their race that day.
It was 3rd time lucky for me when my name was drawn out of the Runners next the Sea club ballot. I'd been unsuccessful, for the 3rd time, in the main ballot for London, so my name went into the running club hat again. And, even though I hadn't changed my name to Ceri/Kerrie, out it came. Everyone knew how excited I was, it was pretty obvious.
My search for the right training plan was on and I settled, eventually on an intermediate, fairly challenging, 16 week plan, to get me to the start line, courtesy of David Yim the most supportive person who I haven't yet managed to meet.
So every week on the fridge a different page, lots of intervals, lots and lots of hill efforts, which I know, over time made me stronger, and building the miles slowly. I enjoyed every single run, apart from 2, one if which was my 20 miler. I was in tears when I finished, it was so tough, I couldn't imagine doing another 6 after that. But, I knew I had to 'trust my training'. Great North Run the following weekend was exactly what I needed, it raised my spirits and I experienced all the logistical challenges of a big event and that truly prepared me mentally for London.
My daughter was also going to be running, having got a ballot place in 2020, but covid struck so she had to run the race virtually, twice, a true test of stamina and determination. We managed quite a few training runs together, when she visited Wells and since we're similar pace we were sure we'd be able to run London together. For me running it separately was never an option, we would definitely manage it somehow, and we did.
We'd sussed out the finish line the day before and agreed to meet Emma's husband Matthew and her son Max at Z, we figured it wouldn't be too crowded there. The tube journey to the start line was great, building the tension, as we squashed into train carriages, amongst Londoners on their daily commute, I wonder what they thought.
We were starting in different colour waves and leaving Emma at red start at Greenwich, as I walked to blue was hard, but we had a plan. It wasn't too complicated, we would meet at mile 4 at 11.39am, we actually met up before that. It was much easier than I expected to keep in touch by phone. Now we were together we could focus on our intention, enjoy the race, run together, get to the end.
To be honest I'd hardly studied the route, but we ticked off each mile, running past more iconic parts of London as we neared the end. The support from the crowds was amazing, building more and more the further we went. I found it tough, as we approached the tunnel, when other runners were passing us on the other side of the road, running in the opposite direction. We both kept wondering how far it was to the turnround point.
By this stage quite a few runners were sitting on kerbs, relacing trainers, putting on plasters, stretching out tweaked muscles, but on we went. My brother Phil and Rowena Claire were in the crowd and with some careful planning (on his part) we managed to see them a few times at different points, which really spurred us on. As we ran past Wesminster, where we got a huge cheer from my friend Amanda, we knew we didn't have far to go, but every mile after 20 had seemed so much longer.
Buckingham Palace came into view as we rounded the last corner and The Mall was in front of us. This is the view I've had in my head for years, watching on tv as runners come over the line.
This time it was our turn, we did it.
Not sure what's next, but I haven't entered the ballot for next year... yet. For those of you who like a statistic I finished in place 36,202, so there were 4,186 runners behind me and quite a few in front.
My official time was 5.56.26