Angela and Daphne took part in their first marathon, and they crowned this achievement during the London Marathon. Daphne and Angela share their thoughts…
The London Marathon… where to start to describe it?! The whole thing was one incredible experience from pre-race registration to the Finish and every runner should experience it at least once in his lifetime! Pre-race registration took place a few days in advance in a massive exhibition hall. The first thing that was immediately obvious was the unbelievable organisation they have. The time and effort that obviously goes into the whole thing and the sheer masses of helpers involved as well as the funds!
After registration, runners are encouraged to visit the Sports Expo in the same hall… every running brand you can think of (and a few I’d never heard of!) under the same roof, selling everything from treadmills to socks. My Visa has yet to recover 🙂
On race day trains are free throughout central London which facilitated getting to the Start as we didn’t have to worry about money. ‘We’ were primarily Angela and I, as we had trained together almost every step of the approx. 700km training schedule. But also Josette Falzon (without whom we might never have been going), Douglas and Karen, all of whom very quickly became new friends.
Preparing everything the night before…
Marathon chip, sicks, underwear, running kit (what to wear??), number, tissues, tracksuit, rucksack, shoes (!!)… what to eat, how much water to drink… and then getting into bed – trying to sleep was difficult when we were so very, very excited and couldn’t stop giggling in bed!
On race day, Angela and I met up with the others and set off for the train station with Maltese flag in hand (see photo!). People with the trademark Virgin London Marathon bags were visible everywhere and I think that is when reality starts to set in, this is it!
When we got to Greenwich our first search was for toilets, portable cubicles, of course, with an endless queue. But it was all so well organised, that it didn’t take too long. Also it was a good opportunity to look around us and take it all in – the throngs of people, the colours, the costumes, the smell of Deep Heat, the bubbling excitement!
Before we knew it, we had wee-ed, dropped off our kit bags and headed to the Start and then we were off… 36,000+ participants… and it really felt like it was that quick, although it took us 18 minutes to get from ‘our start’ to crossing the official start line.
The feeling along the route was incomparable to anything I have ever experienced before. The crowd support was phenomenal, people line the street the whole way, like one never ending street party. There were bands, water stations at every km, people shouting your name and encouraging you with every step (you are told to print your name on your running top beforehand and it really works!), people offering Jelly Babies along the way. You aren’t alone for one second and as a result of that, the first 25km or so pass in a heartbeat.
The last 10km were probably the hardest of course. It was a beautiful but actually-too-hot-for-running kind of day and that didn’t help much. The road started to take its toll and runners start falling by the wayside, stopping to stretch, rest and even being carried off on stretchers and of course, you have been on your feet for the best part of 4 hours. I’d be lying if I say it is all glorious, but perhaps if there was no suffering at all, I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much, and at that point, you really know the end is achievable. Seeing the sign that said we were 750m away from the Finish was like a ray of light from heaven but even then with the fatigue setting in and the legs starting to ache, I still kept looking around me thinking ‘this is really happening, this isn’t an amazing dream’.
Running a marathon is not easy, but it is a milestone and with training and support it is very achievable milestone. Thank you to the LRC who got me running races just over 3 years ago; thank you to Angela, it really would not have been possible without you!; thank you to Mark, for putting up with my running schedule and especially for walking the dog when my legs couldn’t carry me another step after the 32km training sessions 🙂
Would I do it again? Let me just say ‘not yet’ but I am certainly delighted I took the opportunity when it came along and I have signed up for next year just in case I change my mind! Happy running 🙂
Daphne: Ang, shall we try to do a marathon one day?
Me: As if I can run a marathon! 42k – taf x’qed tgħid, Daph?
17 April 2011
Me to Daphne: We did it! We did it! Can you believe that we ran 42k? We actually did The London Marathon!
Euphoria is the only word to describe the feeling on arriving at the Finish line of a 42k run and receiving the medal around your neck!
The Virgin London Marathon was really a dream come true – something which I would not have thought possible 12 months before.
However, after acquiring a marathon running schedule which looked pretty doable, training started taking shape. As the mileage increased, my confidence grew stronger. What amazed me the most during our 4 months of preparation was that our body could take so much, once training was done gradually. I had never imagined that I could run 65k in a week. But slowly, slowly and with great perseverance, I did and I feel very proud that I went in for the challenge.
Since I do not like to use an iPod and earphones, having a running buddy who babbles continuously, makes all the difference. No offence Daph – you’re one great running buddy!
Thank you all for your support, both financial and verbal, throughout my months of training and for all your good wishes before and after the marathon. We are one great club! Viva n-nisa ġerrejja!