Virgin London Marathon 2019
When I think back to when I won the Allrunners Club Ballot I was both really excited and really panic struck at the thought of running 26 miles and all the training that would involve.. These conflicting emotions have been very much part of my marathon journey!
However, I need not have worried as it is all really achievable.
Despite what I thought, I really enjoyed my training and it was lovely having the opportunity to run with other people from the Club who I did not know as well. I followed the BUPA intermediate training plan which is a really simple one page schedule and I only ran 3 times a week. More would be better but it is all about that you can fit into your life.
On the Marathon weekend it was fantastic to have Bea to travel up to London with and to go and register together at the Expo centre on Saturday. I got a bit concerned on the Saturday afternoon when I had a text from booking,com to say my hotel registration had been cancelled and I had visions of sleeping rough before the big day. Thankfully this was all an admin error.
Up at the crack of dawn and a quick breakfast in our room, we took the tube and then train down to Blackheath. Once we had got rid of our bags on the lorry and braved the queues for the toilet we were off to the starting lines – blue pen for me. 50 minutes later and feeling a bit chilly I had crossed the start line.
The race itself is truly amazing and a one off lifetime experience. The crowds and the atmosphere are just so inspiring and motivating even when you are feeling really tired and weary. I ran the first 17 miles with a 5hr pacer which was a real support but after the Isle of Dogs I struggled to keep up and decided to slow down a bit. It was wonderful to see Tina Cutler at 9.5 miles and again at 17 miles. Somewhere on the Shadwell Highway I saw my family which was fantastic as I had missed spotting them earlier and I was needing some moral support by then. But I kept going as you do! At around mile 23 -24, I suddenly found some energy – I think because I realised I was really near the end -and picked up speed and really enjoyed running the last couple of miles around Houses of Parliament and up towards Buckingham Palace and down the Mall. Suddenly I was there having crossed the finish line in 5hrs 4 mins. I thought I would be very tearful and emotional but in fact I wasn’t – probably just a bit shocked at having finished it in one piece!!
After a re-union with my family in St James’s Park we made the long journey back home – not getting back till 10pm. Getting up for work the next day was a bit of a struggle!
I wanted to thank the Club and its members for all the support, encouragement and advice they have given me along the way. It has been a really, really BIG help to me. Thank you. To anyone else reading this and thinking about running a marathon. Go and do it – it really is possible.
Julia Ruggles – Julia was fundraising for Allsorts, you can support her at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/julia-ruggles