The London Marathon is still one of the most special events on this planet.
Runners had been signed up since last summer so it was a long journey to get them to that start line in Greenwich. They had to train all over the winter, through the cold nights and frosty early mornings, in their local parks and hometowns, setting out by themselves for three-hour runs.
And then suddenly they found themselves at the biggest event in the world, on a baking hot day in mid-April, surrounded by 35,000 others. For all their cake sales and hassling their friends for sponsorship, for all their “No, sorry I can’t come out tonight, I’ve got to go for a 15 mile run tomorrow morning”, for all their aching limbs — this is the day to make it all worth it.
For elite athletes like Jo Pavey (right), it’s no less of a mental and physical challenge. I’m so thrilled that Jo had such a good race and has now been selected for the World Championships.
It was also so good to be able to meet so many of the runners and their friends and families at the post race reception. The lovely Marjory, aged 89, got on really well with the equally lovely Mengi from Ethiopia (both pictured below right). Mengi has been overwhelmed with his fundraising — calling it “a flood that’s not a disaster”.
Everyone had the chance to reflect on their own personal experiences, how far they had come, how many hours they had dedicated to fundraising, and how many miles they had covered.
The personal challenge is immense and so race day can be an emotional and sometimes overwhelming experience. There’s nothing quite like the London Marathon. There’s nothing quite like going to sleep with your entire body hurting, but feeling the happiest you can feel. With the knowledge that not only have you conquered a massive physical and mental mountain, but that children around the world will also be having a better night’s sleep because of you and your accomplishment. Wow.
So what’s next? Bring on the Edinburgh Marathon next month! For more information about how you can run for Save the Children, take a look at our website: www.savethechildren.org.uk/borntorun.