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23/06/2017 by Connor Kingsley
Dean’s London Marathon Race Report 2017
Sunday 23rd April 2017. London Marathon. The last 4 months had built up to this day and now it was here. Entering the ballot and being rejected, entering the Birmingham Swifts Running Club raffle and getting picked for the one allocated club place, training for weeks and weeks increasing the distance as I went on until I got to a 20 mile training run and my knee gave way meaning I had the added pressure of resting in the weeks leading up to the race thinking my main aim as I hadn’t ran a marathon before was to get to the finish with an injury that was making my knee limp!
The day before the marathon I had to go to the Excel centre Expo to pick up my race number where I also got my name printed on my vest and got to have a photo with one of my heroes Paula Radcliffe!
I woke up and had porridge, a cup of tea and a banana and psyched myself up to prepare for the biggest challenge of my life. I met up with another runner who was staying in the same shared accommodation and we made our way on the train (which was free to runners) to our designated start points.
My designated start point was Blackheath. The atmosphere at the starting area was electric. There were many people and hot air balloons and helicopters hovering overhead. It really felt like history was about to be made, I was part of it and the whole county was watching.
I was so nervous before I started but I stuck to my plan of going slow and steady. There were so many runners running for good causes. As well as running for my running club Birmingham Swifts I was also running for a worthy local charity back home the Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice. I would go to raise £900 for them.
As I continued running I passed several fancy dress runners including a man with a washing machine on his back, a woman dressed as the Mona Lisa painting and even a man dressed as Jesus (or was I hallucinating).
The support from the crowds was incredible and I passed all the iconic landmarks en route like the Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge, which marked the halfway point. Normally in a half marathon this is where I would stop but I had a very long way to go!
The next couple of miles felt comfortable but when I got to 15 miles I had to slow right down and then at 20 miles I had to stop running and walk instead. This is when something amazing happened. This crowds who had been cheering everybody earlier started seeing my name printed on my vest and could see me struggling so they cheered me on even more so with their help and their jelly babies I kept walking thinking to myself even if I crawled I was going to get to that finish.
I got to 24 miles and I thought right 2 miles to go and somehow found a second wind and thought I am now going to run to the finish and I did. Running along the embankment and up to Big Ben where the scene of a terror attack just weeks before had now given way to joyous cheering crowds. I was sprinting to the line past parliament square, Buckingham palace and into the Mall and this point not realising my sprint finish was on tv behind Gabby Logan and Chris Evans!
The London Marathon was the biggest challenge of my life and I could recommend it to anybody if you can get a place however it is not a challenge to be taken lightly and it was so tough but I feel so much stronger mentally and physically knowing I have done that and feel that now I can do anything!