London Marathon 2021 by Adam Jackson

Last Saturday was the London Marathon, which was the first time it had been fully organised since April 2020- which is when I had originally had a place, due to our Club being allotted an entry. Anyone who know me, knows that I am NOT a road runner, by any means, but have long had an ambition to run this event, that I remember going to see my own dad complete back in 1984. So we all know what happened to races last year, and fortunately my place was saved for October of this year. It was never a certainty and for most of the year I just carried on as normal, training for Fell races, until  August came and I realised that the Marathon was still a fixture- so started to train a bit on the roads, trying to get used to doing long distances with a constant pace and not stopping to walk, like you do on the fells. Eventually the day approached and my train tickets were booked and my cousin who luckily lives within 10mins of the start was ready to welcome me as a guest.Signing in on on the Saturday was a bit of a chore, due to the numbers running (over 40000!) and I started to get a feel for the enormity of the whole event. I was also starting to feel a bit excited. I also realised that up until that point entry was dependent on me providing proof of a negative lateral flow test, it was a major relief to finally get my number pinned on my Northern Fells Vest. On the morning, the rains had cleared and blue sky was starting to show across the London Skyline. It was a perfect cool temperature and the air was fresh. This year we were started in waves, and the numbers of runners involved were an amazing spectacle. From the very start in the suburbs, people came out of their houses to cheer the wave of runners on, and the nearer  we approached central London, the bigger the crowds, the music, and the support. Absolutely amazing. I paced myself really well (for once) and stuck to 8min miles, restraining the urge to go faster in the first few miles, but then really having to push hard in the last few miles to keep the pace. The sights and sounds were fantastic, and the hours flew by. Going over Tower Bridge after 12 miles was a high point, and then it’s around Canary Wharf, craning your neck as you look up to the monuments of capitalism. In the last 10km, the crowds and side shows were intensifying and I was really enjoying the whole experience. Yes there was discomfort, but I just couldn’t help enjoying the moments. There were still a massive river of runners and I reckon to have run an extra 1/2 mile over the course in order to overtake all the tractors, robots, toy cars, pandas, guy in ski boots(!!), flamenco dancer, tree, and so many other assorted fancy dresses, but it was all part of the fun. Eventually you turn a corner and there is Buckingham Palace, The Mall and the finish line. Feeling on a high I managed a final sprint and crossed the line in 3h 28min which I was so pleased with. Then I had to just lie down in the sun on some grass under a tree and soak in all that had happened. A truly memorable experience. So I’d just like to say a huge thank you to the club, who allowed me to gain entry, and to say that if anyone has an inkling to do it that they should definitely give it a go. It will go down as one of my most memorable running experiences ever. I also ran the event for The Calvert Trust, and just want to thank all the club members who have donated so generously thus far. If anyone else wishes to donate, my just giving page can be found here.

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