Today I, along with what I can only imagine to be hundreds of thousands of people, have entered the ballot for the Virgin Money 2017 London Marathon. I have never done a marathon or a half marathon before but after watching the Marathon year after year on TV and in the flesh, I have decided that I want to take on the 26.2 mile course that lights up London.
If you follow my blog you will know that I love to run, but the runs I do fall around 24 miles short of marathon distance! I do 800m sprints, I run the mile and I may do a 5km run every now and again but that’s as far as I allow my legs to take me. I am a regular and experienced runner but entering the marathon ballot is stepping into unknown territory.
As much as I want to conquer mile 26, I know that I probably wont even get a spot in the marathon. Over 400k apply each year and only 33k are given the chance to run. The London Marathon is quite a special race which is why it’s so popular. It’s a World Marathon Major and the atmosphere that the crowd create to spur on each and every single runner cannot be replicated. In the words of Run Dem Crew Founder Charlie Dark “Those who don’t run, must cheer” and that is exactly what us Londoners do. We cheer.
What I love the most about the marathon is that anyone can do it. You could be an elite athlete or a grandparent in their 80s. The marathon is available for all to do and it’s probably one of the only sports that embraces every athletic ability and brings unity.
It warms my heart to see a runner’s eyes light up as a stranger calls out their name, telling them to keep going. I want to experience that runners high, I want to be surrounded by a sea of runners all pushing towards the finish line. I want to stand at the end of mile 26.2 and lift my hands up in triumph. I want to run the London Marathon. But it’s not going to be easy. First there is the anticipation of getting a place, which I won’t find out until October and this only gives me six months to prepare. Is that long enough? It probably is but to be on the safe side, I am going to start adding a few longer runs to my workouts and getting more miles in my legs. When I say longer runs… I mean a mile or two! I have recently signed up to Park Run, which is only 5km but it will help me to learn how to pace myself under race conditions.
Then there comes the challenge of staying injury free and committing to a solid running program. Marathon training falls around the festive season, when gym becomes less of a priority and eating and drinking everything in sight becomes a necessity. Oh how I love the festive season! It will be a bit of an upwards battle trying to stay on track during the holidays, which often spills over to February, but this will give me the opportunity to exercise my strength and determination which is something that I will need to help me to complete the marathon.
When I applied for the London Marathon Ballot, it asked me about my physical condition and what time I was expecting to complete the marathon in. With a 10km personal best of 42.03 and a 5km personal best of under 20 minutes, I typed in an optimistic yet doable 3 hours 25 minutes. It’s going to be hard and I might fall up short, but the very least I am going to do is try and run a sub 3 hour 30 minute marathon… If i get a place.
Has anyone else entered the 2017 ballot? Share your marathon experiences below!