My alarm went off at 5:42 (yes you right read that right… those extra 2 minutes made all the difference!), I already had everything prepared so all I had to do was get dressed and of course eat my porridge at stupid o’clock!
Arrived at the Bracknell sports centre just after 6:15am and was greeted with a see of green jumpers! We had over 30 club members running (& around 40 members volunteering)
Arrived to the start at around 8-8:30, I’m so impressed at how smooth & organized it was, no massive que’s for the toilet (at least to begin with) and a smooth process to drop bags off…
We then had a nervous wait until the 10am start, luckily I had advice from fellow club members & took an old jumper to wear whilst waiting! Went into the starting pen’s just before 10 and found a Runners World pacer for 4:15, my plan was to stick with him for the first few miles. The start time finally arrived and surprisingly it only took me 15mins to get to the start line, unfortunately before I even crossed the line I needed the toilet… ! Very annoying but it was just too late so I knew i’d have to go round the course.
At Mile 1 there was already a massive que for the ladies so I continued hoping mile 2 would be better, unfortunately not but at this point I decided to just wait anyway! Luckily i only had to wait a few minutes – I then sped up to try and re-join the 4:15 pacer which didn’t take too long. By mile 5 I felt amazing and I was very tempted to speed up (i was running at roughly 9:30 min/mil so slower than most of my training runs), but decided to keep consistent and enjoy the easy ride. The crowds were AMAZING & backed up at every single mile along the route, I constantly heard my name being shouted out and although it was weird at first it certainly made a difference as the miles went on.
By Canary Wharf (mile 19) I was still feeling good, I kept worrying and thinking that something had to go wrong?! My legs felt great, my stomach was fine… all i could think about was when I going to “hit the wall”, by mile 24 I knew there was no such thing for me and i picked up the pace. I still cannot believe that I ran a marathon with negative splits!! and according to the stats (published here) I managed to pass 1,753 runners and only 12 people passed me in the last 7.2k.
As I approached the mall and saw the sign “800m to go” I started to run even faster, it felt great finishing strong 🙂 The crowds really energize you at this point and you realize how all the hard work has paid off! As I crossed the line I literally could not stop running! My legs were on autopilot and another runner said to me “…you do realise you’ve passed the finish line” that just made me laugh! I eventually came to a walking pace very chuffed with the time on my watch 4:10! It was exactly within my aim of 4:00-4:15!
Was then a smooth walk to get medal, goodie bag & picked up my bag with no que (smoother than any other major event I’ve taken part in which had far less runners!).
… and of course the VERY best part of the whole experience has to be the amount raised for the charity Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), I am still overwhelmed at how generous everyone has been. I’m still waiting for the final total as EMC will also be kindly donating but I absolutely smashed my target amount (see my JustGiving site here for the current total) – So a HUGE thank you to anyone reading who very kindly donated!!