London Marathon 2016: The 3 hours and 22 minute debut marathon

13087446_1165535943480256_2964614214199362144_nBy Scott Mills

Wow…where do I start!

After months of hard work and preparation in getting myself ready for the biggest challenge I have had to face in sport since trying to keep my quiff out of my face when playing football, I honestly believe that it was also my proudest moment to date.

From collecting my running number and charity t-shirt at the 2016 London Marathon Expedition on the Friday, to getting overtaken by a man dressed as a tap, this week was most definitely one to remember.

For someone who has never ran in such a big event before, I never fully realized just how exciting the atmosphere would be until I  arrived at the races expedition  at the Excel Centre.

The atmosphere in the expedition hall really did replicate that experienced during the race and it wasn’t just because everyone was collecting free beer vouchers on their way round!

In fact, I have never received so many freebies in my life.

Within a minute of walking round, you’d find yourself having about five leaflets and a few Mars bars being thrusted in your direction.

Now I have never been to the North Pole, but I can imagine that Santa’s work shop was probably looking something similar to this.

Either that or when you go to your Grandparents house and they give you an unlimited supply of food that you’re usually too polite to turn down even when you’re full.

One of the standout memories from that day for me was probably meeting the ‘Get Kids Going!’ team for the first time.

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Everyone who worked for the charity that I met that day were amazing and seeing all the hard work they put in for these events to help raise money for disabled sport was unbelievable and really quite inspirational.

About three hours later and my mum getting more emotional than the moment Leonardo Di Caprio died in Titanic on at least five occasions, we finally made it around the Expo and headed for home (Please note that contrary to belief, I would like to point out that there was definitely enough room for both Kate Winslet and Leo on that piece of wood).

The day before race day, I don’t think I have ever been so unproductive in my life.

To say I did literally nothing all day would be an understatement and I never thought that sitting on the sofa, watching the football eating as many carbohydrates as possible could be so satisfying.

Although it was an extremely relaxing day, the thought of knowing that the following day I would set out on a 26.2 mile hike through London that night got me quite excited and emotional.

I couldn’t help but visualise myself crossing that finishing line and all the pride and happiness that would come with completing my first ever major.

However, when race day actually arrived all of my thoughts and emotions about the marathon went out the window.

From waking up at 6am to travelling on a tube dressed in my finest lycra that would rival that of the late and great David Bowie, the only thing I could think about for the whole journey was which alcoholic beverage I would drink first after the race.

Although being greeted by a turd in the Greenwich Park toilets wasn’t exactly the start I was hoping for, things started to pick up when Jenny called me to offer some last minute advice to help me through the race.

The words ‘Start off slow and then pick up the pace’ were the exact words she used that would constantly repeat themselves in my head for the next three hours and twenty minutes of my life.

Powering through the 22 mile mark!

Powering through the 22 mile mark!

Finally, after rubbing shoulders with the likes of Dame Kelly Holmes, Gabby Logan and the rest of the BBC News team, I found myself at the starting line in pen six which represented those with a predicted time of four hours.

Taking 10 minutes to reach the starting line it wasn’t long before I found something about running that I strongly disliked in which rubbed me up the wrong way completely.

Now for those who know me will know that you could probably put me in a room on my own and somehow I would still moan about something and in this instance it was trying to weave in and out of other runners trying to overtake them.

I will also state that people stepping on bottles of Lucozade causing it to shoot across the course and hit my leg wasn’t so enjoyable either.

So after dodging flying water bottles and resisting the urge to shout ‘You shall not pass’ at a guy dressed as Gandolf the Grey from Lord of the Rings, I was finally approaching the 13.1 mile mark signifying the half-way point but mainly where I would find my proud family and friends gathered.

The buzz of seeing the people who have supported you through everything you have done, urging you on definitely gave me a lift that I needed to push past any pain barriers or mental obstacles I would face in the latter stages of the race.

To be honest, most of the race flew by and I didn’t even get much of a chance to take in some of the city’s finest landmarks because of the simple fact that I was so focused and concentrated on overtaking other runners and drinking fluids tactically that much of the event was a blur.

As I continued to plough on despite looking like a red Philoctetes from Disney’s Hercules, a sudden tiredness in my legs started to settle in and at one point I was close to walking for a short distance.

My legs started to feel very heavy but I knew that if I walked for even a second, I would find it hard to get going for the remaining two miles so I had to push on and keep telling myself to keep going and fighting against the feeling of fatigue.

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For the majority of the race, I almost felt that I went into a sort of autopilot mode where my legs just kept moving no matter how tired and full of lactic acid they were.

Turning into the final bend leading up to the finish line at The Mall was possibly one of the funniest and stand out moments of my London Marathon experience.

With everyone trying to push themselves into a sprint finish at the line, I have never seen so many people try so hard to move faster but their legs just staying at a snails pace.

At this point I had already opened what seemed to be like my own salt farm from where the sweat had dried out on my forehead.

By the time I crossed the finishing line I was almost in a daze.

It’s not that I didn’t feel incredibly proud of my achievement that I had finished my first 26.2 miles in a time of 3:22:15, but all I could think about was how much I enjoyed being pushed to my limits both mentally and physically.

When I spoke to my family in the pub to celebrate afterwards, alongside the unbelievable support that I had received from all of my friends, the achievement really started to sink in and made me realise just how lucky and proud I was.

The following day, I visited the track to give Jenny some flowers and chocolates to show my appreciation for everything she has done for me since I was 12 years-old.

It is because of her that I enjoy working so hard and get a thrill out of pushing myself to the limit and for that I am grateful.

But there were two things that really hit home from this day that I will never forget.

As we walked out onto the track, Jenny pulled me aside and pointed to a young boy who was sitting in his wheelchair.

“You see that little fella over there?

“Well he has always wondered what it is like to hold a London Marathon medal.”

As I approached the child, I will never forget just how amazing it was to see the excitement and joy that was etched upon his face when I presented him to hold and wear my medal.

It really made me feel proud of what I achieved knowing that it was people like him who I was helping to raise money for and perhaps even help him one day to get a London Marathon medal of his own.

This was then followed up by Jenny willing me on with the words ‘You’re going to push on from this now aren’t you?’ almost pushing me in the possible direction of perhaps a career in long distance running and turning my attention to the next major in New York.

My proudest moment of my life!

My proudest moment of my life!

As my blog reaches it’s end, I just want to personally thank each and every one of you that has supported me and donated to my charity.

You have all helped me massively and you really are what helped push me through those tough few miles at the end, so thank you for everything!

 

 

 

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One comment

  1. […] I took part in the 2016 London Marathon, I never believed that I would enjoy running  and particularly pushing myself to the limit by […]

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