What a day! Running in the London Marathon ranks right up there as one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had! Every aspect of the race was finely tuned:
* wonderful race organization by the London Marathon event team throughout the entire process, especially at the London Expo and the marathon itself.
* stupendous crowd support all day along all of the course - the enthusiasm of the London crowd was nothing like I have ever seen...even when running NYC marathon.
* fancy dress!!!!!!!!!!! Man, every runner turned out in a costume. We had Wonder Woman, Batman, cartoon characters, cops and robbers, people dressed as every animal under the sun (dogs, camels, rhinos, elephants), people dressed as huge cans of beer, cell phones, etc. The thing that was most amazing is that people actually ran 26 miles in that gear.
* 36,000 runners partook in Sunday's race! All but about 500 runners completed the race.
* Of the 36,000 runners, over 80% of the runners raised money for charity. It is estimated that 49, 000,000 GBP (or about 56,000,000 USD) was raised for worthy causes in the UK. That averages out to about 1500 GBP a runner. Shows the power of the masses and what they can do when united in a common cause.
* Weather was picture perfect....a bit warm for runners at about 68-70 degrees but perfect for the cheering crowds.
* Excellent volunteer and race support...thousands and thousands of bottles of water and Lucozade were available, along with massive amounts for volunteers to help runners at every stage of the race.
So, I am effusing just a bit....the only possible issue????? It was not one of the most scenic and picturesque race courses I have ever run. Must confess, the Paris Marathon ranks as #1 for me. To be clear...if everyone could have this experience...it was downright heady!
OK...what everyone wants to know who is reading this post...how did Hachie Gal do in the marathon? Well, at mile 13, I was on track for a 4:40 race finish but a horrific lower calf cramp caused me to detour into one of the first aid stations for a 10 minute muscle massage. The good news is that I could continue in the race; the bad news is that I could not sustain my original pace. Final finish time: 5 hours, 15 minutes.
Throughout the day, I had FAN-TAS-TIC race support, including the Budman, the Confused Swiss, Paulster, Cyn, and Christina. Thanks, guys for coming out and supporting me!
As for my fundraising, I am thrilled to report that thanks to almost 100 friends, family members, and work colleagues, that I raised 3300 GBP (or about 4500 USD) for Guide Dogs UK. Your generosity and encouragement was more than I could ever have hoped for.
So...what's next on the facing calendar? A few 10K runs and certainly a few more marathons yet. I am still looking for a marathon PR of less than 4 hours and 26 minutes. Maybe lucky #13 is the one! And yes...as of today, I have entered the ballot for a spot in the 2010 Virgin London Marathon...150,000 applications will be accepted and then the entry is closed. As of today, over 90,000 potential runners, had already entered the lottery which is expected to close this weekend...in 7 days or less...AMAZING!
Without further ado...sights of the 2009 Flora London Marathon...enjoy!
Hachie Gal at the start of the race in Greenwich (as in GMT....).
The runners' kit gear trucks roll on. 17 mac trucks rolled all the runners gear from the start to the finish.
The road crew...Cyn is the photographer.
Road crew takes the tube and DLR during the day.
Hachie Gal signals for a pit-stop.
Holly stretches that cramping calf muscle in Canary Wharf.
Yes, it is that left leg....
My fellow runners.
Canary Wharf in the distance.
Great crowd support everywhere.
The devil runs the marathon.
Male reps of the road crew look at a map. Female reps look on and laugh!
Hachie Gal and supporters at the finish....