London Marathon 2018

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

There are moments when I look at pictures or remember certain things and think, did I really just run the London Marathon? Then when I feel the immense pain in my muscles and I try to move an inch it sinks in that yes, in fact, I really did!

This is not my first marathon having run Paris last year. But, for me, this was the big one. The London Marathon is the biggest single day fundraising event in the world. Yes - THE WORLD. Just under 400,000 people applied to take part this year when a only mere 41,000 people can actually cross the start line. So yeah, it's a pretty big deal.

The 2018 London Marathon is now the hottest on record with temperatures reaching 24 degrees celsius, similar to the temperature of the Paris marathon I ran last year; and it. was. tough. Really tough. Taking into account that most of my training has been in winter conditions, even snow at one point, it's safe to say that I struggle running long distances in heat and this was my biggest challenge yet. Before I even crossed the start line I had been standing in a pen with thousands of other runners in direct sunlight for 45 minutes as they staggered the start by letting groups begin the race one at a time. I had a longer target time so I was in pen 7 out of 8; I didn't actually start the race until 10:30. So you could probably say I was already a little weary at that point.

The sun was relentless. I actually found the first 10 miles the most difficult as we were pretty much running in the sun the whole time. It was when I crossed Tower Bridge, just before the halfway point, that I first felt confident I was going to finish. The shade began to come in droves, especially around all the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, and eventually we were greeted with a bit of cloud cover. Which, at the time, felt like a God send! I found it so much easier to run when it was cooler; I think I ran more during the second half than the first. Even with my legs seizing up more and more with every movement, just the fact that I wasn't in intense sunlight made such a huge difference.

One of the best things about the London Marathon is the support, not just from spectators and marshals but the support the runners show each other. I'd never experienced anything like it before. The support at Paris was great but nowhere near on the scale like London. Every time a runner stopped to stretch or slowed their pace to walk they were immediately checked on by another runner and given help and encouragement. It honestly made me so proud to be part of such a fantastic event, and when I received an encouraging pat on the back by a fellow runner when I was struggling, it gave me the boost I needed to keep going.

I can't talk about support without mentioning my amazing family and boyfriend who scurried around London all day to see me at different points throughout the course. My Mum even made a banner (pictured) which was easy to spot so I knew exactly where they were. When you do something as gruelling as a marathon getting cheered and clapped as you run past really makes a difference; even people I didn't know where shouting my name it was such an amazing atmosphere! Although the weather didn't help us runners it definitely encouraged a lot of people to come out and watch.

I finished in 6 hours and 20 minutes. At first I was really disappointed with my time. Considering I had run 5 hours and 33 minutes in Paris, I was really hoping to improve on that, but the weather had other ideas! I started to feel better as I heard from more and more runners saying that they had struggled too and even the elite runners were going at a slower pace than normal. It became very apparent that people weren't going for personal best times, they just wanted to complete it.

I am extremely proud of myself that I managed to get through it. I never thought I'd ever be able to run one marathon let alone two. There's nothing quite like getting the medal put round your neck and you know that the months of gruelling training in day, night, rain, wind and snow was all leading up to that point and it's so worth it!

I compiled a few pictures and videos of the day into a little vlog on my YouTube channel, watch below:

YouTube: Julianna Green
Instagram: juliannagreen
Snapchat: juliannagreen
Twitter: @_juliannagreen

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