• Vanessa

Our London Marathon Memories

We all know what should be happening right now. As a tribute to London's greatest race, Secret London Runs' marathon-loving tour guides have shared their fondest memories of the London Marathon.


Emma

I have run the London Marathon 3 times to raise money for refugee charities. In the first year, I raised over £32,000 and won my place for the following year! London Marathon wrote this lovely article about my effort.

Emma running the London Marathon

I live at the one mile mark in Blackheath, so the marathon has always been a big part of our community. We've been watching the race from our road for 20 years!


Last year, I was thrilled to be part of the marshalling team at The Cutty Sark and got to see a different side to the race. I'm very proud to say that we all stayed in place until every single runner had passed us, even those who had been overtaken by the clean-up team. The spirit shown at the 'party-at-the-back' moves me to tears every time. 


Emma marshalling in 2019

For 2020, I've been lucky enough to get a much-coveted ballot place, so have been able to take a year off the fundraising! I can't wait to take my place on the start line, whenever it may be. 



Maxine


The only time I’ve run London was in 2014 with my friend dressed as a pair of boobs for charity. My friend had just recovered from breast cancer and I had gone to all her chemotherapy with her.

Maxine running the London Marathon

My son, Van was only four months old at the time, and I never have learnt how to bottle feed, so had to organize meeting my husband at Mile 20. I pulled over, took the fake boob off and got the real ones out!


Van getting ready for all the boobs at mile 20


Ronnie


My first London was in 2009, the last time it was sponsored by Flora.


Flora's last marathon


I went on to run the first Virgin money one the next year, and the year after that. My best year was 2015 - A whole load of us met up in our throwaway rainwear and walked up to the start. Everything went well and I smashed my PB, and was so cock a hoop I have called myself Marathon Gran ever since!



Marathon Gran is born

In 2017 I picked up an injury, which meant I had to defer my place. So I volunteered on the baggage trucks.



Ronnie on the baggage trucks

In 2018 I had to run it, even though I was still injured. You cannot defer twice. However, I decided to fun run with my friend, not wearing a watch. I fashioned myself a Marathon Gran top and had a real laugh jogging round.



Marathon Gran 2018


Of course I lost my Good For Age status, so the hard work starts this year, earning it back. I just love Marathon Day. Of course I am in mourning for the postponed 2020 race, but a bunch of runners in my club are running a (physically distant) marathon challenge instead.



Eleanor


My parents have run 12 marathons between them and growing up I was always on the London course, cheering them on. But in spite of being a keen runner myself I could never imagine successfully getting round 26.2 miles (perhaps because spectating the marathon is so exhausting in itself!). I finally plucked up the courage in 2007 to apply for a charity place and discovered that running the marathon is actually less tiring than watching it!



Eleanor and her Marathon Mum at the finish-line of her first marathon


I’ve run a total of 4 marathons since. 2020 would have been number 5 and I had my sights on a pb but nevermind! What I love most about the London marathon is the nervous excitement as thousands of runners converge on Blackheath at the start, all in it together, & the joy of meeting up with friends & family at the finish to share stories and congratulations.



Eleanor with her family after 2019, about to enjoy a well-earned G&T

I’m always amazed at how quickly the horror & pain of the last few miles disappears once you’re in the pub with a medal round your neck and a g&t in your hand!



Vikki


I’ve been lucky enough to run London 3 times but I wanted to share my experience as a volunteer 3 years ago (yes the REALLY hot one) at the 400m to go mark. What a day!

Vikki marshalling in 2017


To experience the magic of London from start to finish is a day I won’t forget! From seeing the elites steam by, the camaraderie of the club runners at the sharp end, the numerous world record attempts rush past us and the pride and joy on spectators faces when they’d spotted their friends and family was immense.


I spent a lot of the afternoon sobbing at the sheer determination of people completing the 26.2 miles on such a hellishly hot day! Walking home I had to agree with Kathrine Switzer “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”



Matt


The first time I did London Marathon in 2017, it was 3 weeks after Rome marathon so I hadn’t quite recovered fully yet. I still enjoyed the course and ran a PB.


In 2019, I hadn’t trained properly as I was dealing with a foot injury. I ran most of the course with a friend and was actually doing quite well.




Then I ran past my club mates at Limehouse (around 21.5 miles) and my friend gave me a gin and tonic can. it was warm and took about 2-3 minutes for that to hit my stomach - I completed the rest of the marathon at a run/walk. Moral of the story - wait until the end for gin!


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