Friday, 30 April 2010
My Marathon Experience by Matt Crompton
Once the Expo was out of the way it was time to check in to the hotel and then to Leicester Sq to meet Pete again for plate fulls of pasta, ice cream and get some last minute tips. Conversation was dominated by marathons, both past and present and by the end of the evening i had the final motivational top up i needed ready for the big day....cheers Pete.
After a reasonable sleep i was up and about early for breakfast and then off to meet Jon to travel down to the start together. I was on the red start at Greenwich with about 20,000 others but i was surprised by how organised and easy it was to check in, use the loos etc. After ditching my bag on one of the lorries early i made my way over to my starting point, poncho on, as it was starting to rain and managed to be the 2nd person in my pen at just gone 09:05. I started in pen 4 and by the time they had cut the tapes to let all the runners merge together i found myself in the envious position of being on the starting straight actually able to see the start line! Not getting beaten by an 8 foot Rhino suddenly seemed a bit less daunting prospect as he was at least 300 feet behind me.
I crossed the line only 1 1/2 minutes after the official start time and was soon into my stride, feeling comfy with no sign of the troublesome cold i'd had for most of the week before. Cutty Sark soon came along as did the warmer weather with the rain a distant memory from 6 miles earlier. It was around this point i bumped into a runner who was next to me at the start. Scott, who ran for a local club in Watford, was looking for 3:20 and we proceeded to drag each other round for the next 10 miles. Tower Bridge was as fantastic as described with the crowds 6 deep and soon after we saw the elite men flying by on the other side of the road, which gave me a much needed boost.
Canary Wharf was the next milestone i was aiming for and it was good to see one of my friends cheering me on. This was where the going started to get really tough, and although the wheels didnt come off, they certainly did start to feel a bit wonky. All i could think about was getting to 20 and then it was only a 10K and i was done! I can just about recall crossing 20 miles but after that it's all a bit of a mystery and i was only focused on trying to not let my pace drop off too much to the finish. I do remember the noise and atmosphere on Embankment and the Mall. I felt like a gladiator running to the finish and all the hard work was worth it for the feeling when i crossed the line.
I have to say that the London Marathon has got to be the most well organised event i have ever experienced. If you can cope with the logistics of masses of people, public transport and fear of being beaten by a man dressed as a rhino its definitely for you. I'll certainly be doing my best to get a place next year.