Where Dreams Came True: Following In the Footsteps of Legends

When you run into an Olympic stadium with thousands of people cheering as you pound the very same track that saw Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis & Usain Bolt achieve Olympic Gold Medals you get goosebumps.  My Sunday morning was incredible.

 The alarm went off at 6am and all I really wanted to do was turn over & ignore it, but it was race day…again.  Not just any race day however, but the National Lottery Anniversary Run which would take me on a 5 mile journey around the Olympic Park and finish with the last 300m on the track in the stadium.  The race sold out in hours and I was only lucky enough to get a place because my Twitter buddies were frantically talking about it.  Thank you!
Each participant received 2 spectator passes for the stadium so Mum & Dad had come up to London for the weekend to watch.  We arrived early to soak up the atmosphere and get a good seat.
As I walked to my start pen I spotted Paula getting mobbed by fans wanting photos.  I was excited now!  I darted into the pen and found a spot in the middle where it was warmer, it was actually quite chilly early on in the day. They introduced Mel C (she does triathlons now apparently!), Victoria Pendleton and Paula, who were all running, and then Sir Chris Hoy who was there to start the race.

The race was fun!  It’s fair to say the first mile was carnage – narrow paths, too many people and a couple of points where we were forced to stop & walk due to congestion.  However, after the first mile or so the pace & course sorted itself out and I had expected it to be busy anyway.  It wasn’t a great view, if I’m honest, we’re talking tractors, diggers and a lot of what resembled a building site, but it was still the Olympic park and we all knew where it would finish.  The course weaved around the Park and we passed the Velodrome, the Copper Box and the Orbit.  There were several points where you could see people running in the other direction, I shouted out to a super speedy guy in a Chaser vest and he waved at me, everyone was in great spirits.

After about 4.5 miles we rounded a corner to the outside of the stadium and there was a glimpse of the track through the gap.  I turned to the guy next to me and said ‘wow, just look at that’, he simply agreed.  However, we would have to wait a bit longer as the course took us through the tunnel that ran under the stadium.  It seemed to go on and on but the organisers were playing Chariots of Fire into the tunnel to get us excited and the anticipation was rising.  Nice touch!

Finally WE WERE THERE, we were only bloody well running through the arch onto the Olympic track!!  It was phenomenal.   The stadium was full of spectators cheering, shouting, making noise and wanting you to run faster, what a sight – you can just imagine what it might have been like on Super Saturday.  That last 300m all went a bit too quickly, I tried to look for mum & dad in the crowd but couldn’t spot them, then the last 100m came around and the only thing left to do was put my foot down and run like Mo!

     Action shot, just casually keeping up with the boys…
I crossed the finish line and felt a little sad.  It was over.  I knew I’d definitely be back if they repeated the event next year.  I got my goody bag and medal and it didn’t take long to find my way back to where Mum & Dad were.  It was great to sit there and take in the atmosphere, just watching people run round the track enjoying themselves.All the runners were buzzing, massive smiles, people whooping at the crowd, dancing, taking photos and videos, everyone was loving it!  It was a lot of runners first time in a race environment and I hope they enjoyed it as much as me.   We stayed to watch some of the entertainment, the sun was now out and Little Mix went on stage to perform some songs.

 Paula coming back to high five some of the quicker runners, what a ledge!
In conclusion, the race was superbly organised, everything went smoothly, it was a lot of fun and, yes maybe the race t-shirts were a bit big, but it was value for money and I got to run round the Olympic track!  On the last 100m stretch I was even thinking to myself, I wonder who was running in this lane last year…
I’ll never know what it was like to be Mo or Jess or Greg on that night that will go down in history as one of greatest nights in British sport EVER but I did get a teeny weeny glimpse into what they experienced and that was enough to blow me away.

The Happiest 5k on the Planet!

It was messy, it was colourful, it was gloriously sunny and it was a whole lot of fun!  On Sunday Wembley marked the first Color Run in the UK (it’s American, they don’t use the ‘u’, you have to get over it).

It’s an un-timed 5km run where you get attacked with different coloured powder paint at each kilometer.  They call it a ‘run’, there was very little running done by anyone but, as they say themselves, it’s ‘less about your 10 minute miles and more about having the time of your life’!  The only rule is that you have to wear white.

It’s fair to say I’ve never participated in a running event that hasn’t had nervous anticipation (vomiting, panic attacks, sheer terror…) built into the excitement but, with my Garmin safely at home, I was nothing but excited.  Zoe and I had customised our t-shirts on Saturday night over a couple of glasses of wine and a chick flick (she even got me sewing blanket stitch with pink wool…) and we customised our faces with some neon paint.  With my ‘Color Run’ tattoo on my arm, sweatband in place, and phone wrapped safely in cling film (advisable) we were ready to roll.


Wembley was buzzing with excited ‘Color Runners’ when we arrived and they were pumping out some tunes while everyone was getting into the spirit of things.  We met up with Kate and a couple of her running buddies and had a bit of a dance.  The start was fairly disorganised, they were letting people off in waves of 1,000 at a time but it was a bit of a free for all getting to the start and, with 15,000 participants and 30 degree temperatures, it was crowded & sweaty.  Some sort of allocated wave system would have made this a lot smoother.


We jogged along the course, which was fairly well spaced out with people, and before we knew it we were at the first ‘color station’, it was pink!  The ‘color dudes’ (made up term) literally throw powdered color all over you, front, back, face, head…there were even people rolling around on the floor!  At this point I realised why they advised you to wear sunglasses and was glad I had taken that advice, pink paint in the eye wasn’t the look I was going for.


And off we went again…to the purple zone… then the yellow zone…and finally the orange zone, absorbing new color and dancing around every chance we got.   Despite the gentle jogging, Kate & I made it a sprint finish, hand in hand across the line, and that was the best moment of the day!  Kate’s long been a running buddy having done everything from 10ks, halves, bogs of doom and marathons together but this was our first Porridge-Frenchy run of 2013 and that makes me so happy!



It all seemed to be over quite quickly and I remain unconvinced that the course was 5k but it was FUN.  At the finish line they give you a packet of ‘color’ to carry on the color party.  With the DJ still banging out the tunes on the stage the atmosphere had a festival feel about it and everyone was dancing and jumping and throwing their color in the air (it really was as surreal as it sounds).

Honestly, it was overpriced at £30 for a 5k without chip timing or a bag drop but all in all it was a fabulous afternoon and the event had a great feel about it.  I’m not sure how it would have worked if it was raining but we were lucky with the weather and that made it all the more enjoyable.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to screw the time, screw the pace, screw the pressure and just bloody well enjoy it – so get involved, apparently it’s the single largest event series on the planet!  Do be warned though, I still have vaguely pink arms and a purple tummy…

I shall now be resuming the use of ‘u’ in colour for the foreseeable future.



10k’s are for wimps*…

…I’ve drawn this inevitable conclusion after finishing my 4th 10k race in 6 weeks and still not clocked a new PB.  10ks are stupid.

Sunday was the RunThrough Clapham Common 10k and it was the hottest day of the year so far.  The Metro reported temperatures of 27 degrees in London, quite a contrast to the wind and rain just 7 days earlier (where I also blamed the weather for my under par performance…)

Saturday was also a beaut of a day and I found myself in a beer garden with a craving for cider.  I never drink before a race so this surprised my friend who was more than happy to join me for some fruity pear goodness (practically one of your 5 a day anyway).  Staying sober and sensible hasn’t done me any favours in the speed stakes so I thought I’d try the ‘fluid & carbs’ approach.  3 seemed about right.

I also made a careful effort to match my nails to my trainers to see if that improved my speed…



Conclusion?  Well, neither of these things worked but you can’t compromise on style just because you’re a big sweaty mess and fluid & carbs are as important as oxygen (this is a fact), so I stand by my race prep.

It really was a hot, hot, hot day and I was even beginning to feel the heat as I left the house at 8.30am.   The sun was scorching as we set off on the 2 lap course and it wasn’t going to let up.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun and I love the heat but running in it is HARD, I even took a cup of water at 5k which I wouldn’t usually bother doing.  I finished in 48.16 and couldn’t get my hands on a bottle of Lucozade quick enough.  I’ll just call it a training run then.

The best part of the day was spotting super speedy Cat in the crowd, who I met for the first time at the Richmond Relays and meeting  Hannah & Lorna who I hadn’t met before but were both fabulous.  It’s always great to meet up with people who think the same way as you and, despite all being amazing runners doing amazing things, they all had their own self-doubts and concerns.  I think they’re just bloody brilliant.

On my way home from work yesterday I was trying to draw some positives from my recent 10k attempts and it wasn’t actually as difficult as I thought:

Race 1: I beat Paula Radcliffe, ran a time I was more than happy with 4 weeks after VLM and had a fab evening with Zoe & free Prosecco.

Race 2: I only bloody well came 2nd and am now the proud owner of a badass trophy!

Race 3: I was the 3rd female Chaser in Richmond which officially makes me a Surrey Road League Race points scorer.

Race 4: I met some truly inspirational runner chicks who reminded me of the true spirit of running and that’s something no timing chip or Garmin stat can ever take away from us.


On the plus side, I didn’t ache at all yesterday which meant I was totally up for the Club social run and weekly bants with the Chasers – winner!

*Obviously I don’t really think 10ks are for wimps.  I have nothing but respect, admiration and embarrassing amounts of jealously for anyone who can nail this git of a distance that’s too long to put the pedal to the floor from the off and too short to make excuses for. RESPECT

The Eternal Quest for a new 10k PB…

So yesterday I failed once again to beat my 10k PB.  Yesterday I failed to run faster than We Own The Night which was only 4 weeks after the London Marathon so I really should have been on better form.  It was a bit windy, and there was a tiny bit of congestion on one of the paths, but I’m not sure either are a valid excuse.

The problem with 10k’s, I’ve discovered, is that they’re hard.  They’re hard because you practically have to sprint the whole way to get a good time.  You can’t give yourself an ‘easy’ mile, you can’t ‘hold back’ in case you run out of energy and you can’t let your focus slip.  You go hard, and then you go harder, or you might as well just give up and accept that you’ve already achieved your best.

Yesterday was the Ranelagh Harriers Richmond 10K.  As a Surrey Road League race it was about 90% club runners and there was a pretty good turnout from the Chasers – 11 boys and 7 girls.  My usual race strategy is to pick someone in front who’s faster and try and keep up, however, this only works when they’re consistent…  Yesterday I seemed to overtake all the people I was hunting down which made it all too easy to fall into my own comfortable pace.  I say comfortable, it wasn’t comfortable at all but it wasn’t pushing myself to the nauseating limit which is where I needed to be for a sub 45.

 Lauren, Ruth and I.  A little bit sweaty and a little bit rained on.


The race was 2 flat road laps through Richmond, it was a nice course but it was quite windy in places.   I crossed the line in 47.34.  It’s not bad, but it’s not good, and it’s most definitely not a PB.  My self pity was relieved slightly when I realised I was the 3rd Chaser girl home and got a mention in the newsletter this morning, but I’m still disappointed.

So the quest for a new PB continues, but there is really only one more opportunity this year to smash it before I’m back in marathon training.

Sunday morning.  Clapham Common.  Flat, fast & all too familiar.  Bring it on…


The one where they gave me a shiny trophy!

It was Saturday night. As I was stuffing my face with more than my fair share of Heroes & Celebrations my brother turned to me and said “that won’t do you much good if you’re running a 10k tomorrow will it?!”

My brother has never talked much sense so I ignored him and carried on (I would like to point out he was also stuffing his face with them despite planning an early bike ride…)

I was down in Dorset for the weekend and had been looking for a local 10k. I usually run the Poole 10k in June but after they dropped the chip timing last year I dropped them from my race calendar.  It’s laughable when they say ‘over recent years the Poole Festival of Running has grown in size and importance and now ranks as one of the most significant road running events in the South of England’ Pah!!!  This is a 10k that starts at 2pm in the Summer (where it is often too hot to run well),  the finishers t-shirt made of cotton so you can’t even run in it, the small is far to big anyway, and now it isn’t even chipped!
It makes me sad as the Poole 10k was my first ever 10k and I’ve run it every year since 2003 (bar 2004) but I think it’s days are over.


Anyway, the Kingston Lacy 10k caught my attention when I was scouring the Runners World website.  Kingston Lacy is an old country mansion set in pretty gardens so I knew there would be a stunning backdrop, and it was chipped, perfect!  I have another 10k in the diary 2 weeks later which is a flat & fast route so I didn’t want to push myself, just enjoy it.   I didn’t realise at the time but the 10k was part of a ‘running festival’ including a half marathon, 5k and kids fun run.  I was only looking for a 10k but this didn’t stop me feeling a bit guilty for not running the half…

The route was lovely, I wasn’t pushing myself, as promised, and I was really enjoying running somewhere different with some country air. It was quite twisty so I couldn’t really see everyone who was ahead of me but the runners I could see were all men. I started to wonder how many women were ahead of me, surely I’ll be in the top 10, maybe even top 5?!

At about 5.5k a women in an orange top overtook me.  I thought about keeping up with her as she wasn’t running that fast, but I had promised myself I would take it easy and so I relaxed and carried on enjoying the run.  There were hills, there were trails and, in the last 2k there was grass that went up to my calf (clearly National Trust membership fees don’t go towards gardening…)  I was a bit concerned about twisting my ankle as the grass was really long and I couldn’t see anything so I slowed down and started to resemble a bunny rather than a runner what with all the hopping around.  I could still see orange-top-woman just ahead of me but a quick glance behind showed there was no one on my tail so I carried on taking it easy, I wasn’t on for a PB so, as long as I retained whatever position I was in, I wasn’t bothered.

Rounding towards the finish people were clapping and I saw Mum & Dad in the crowd, then I was over the finish line.  They had a chip system I haven’t seen before which involved plugging the chip into a machine at the finish, I was a bit thrown by this so my official finish time of 48.24 was 6 seconds slower than my Garmin of 48.18 but as it was no where near my PB it didn’t really matter.

I got my medal and went to look at the results, I could only see one other woman on the list before me.  Had I come 2nd?! Surely not, not with that time?  Turns out orange-top-woman had won,  just 28 seconds ahead of me, and I was the second female!!

We then had to wait around so I could receive my trophy, this was new and exciting, lucky the sun was shining!  There was a little presentation and they gave out all the trophies, I had a trophy!!!

If I had just pushed ahead I would have also won a pair of trainers….damn it!

Celebratory bubbles with the Sis-in-Law

Parklands Relays – My 1st competitive run for the Chasers

The Richmond Park Hare & Hounds Relays was my first opportunity to sign up for a competitive event with the new club.  The teams would be made of 4 people for the boys and 3 for the girls and each runner would cover about 5k. Easy run with some beautiful scenery right?


After the 1st track session (you remember, where I was trying not to vomit at back of the pack?!) I was a little worried about my time.  However, I was promised a fun evening that was open to everyone and all you had to do was indicate your current 5k time when you signed up so they could match the teams accordingly.

I can’t remember the last time I ran a 5k so I took a punt with 23 mins assuming, if anything, I would be faster.  Turns out that was a pretty good punt, I went through 5k on Saturday Nights’ race almost bang on 23 minutes and that was with 5k left to go so I was confident I hadn’t oversold myself.

I was excited, but nervous, not made any better by having to get a bus to the South side of Richmond Park, buses in London can be tricky if you don’t know where you’re going. Luckily I spied some fellow Chasers on the bus so I quickly made friends so we could all get lost together!

Richmond Park is stunning, even more so on a sunny evening in May. We arrived and set up camp near the start as more Chasers started to arrive.  There were several local clubs involved, including the Sheen Shufflers where I finally got to meet fellow blogger and tweeter Cat Simpson (who is so speedy she came 3rd in the Richmond Marathon just 2 weeks after smashing the London Marathon!)


Naomi & Rob, who had done an awesome job of sorting out all the teams, gave me my race number and I met Jos & Ruth who made up my team.  They both looked pretty fit and fast…I was pretty sure I was going to have to run until I felt like my heart was going to explode just so I didn’t embarrass them.

I was on the 3rd leg, not really what I wanted but, in hindsight, it was better than the 1st where everyone was on top of each other. Then they were off!  Now, these are club runners, club runners are fast and the boys (and some of the girls) practically flew, I don’t think I could ride a bike that fast!  The 2nd boy on the first lap was a Chaser, awesome work!

Jos put in a good run and was the 2nd girl Chaser to come through, a tap of the hand and Ruth was on her way. It was pretty chilly in the wind so I did a bit of jumping around trying to get my nerves under control, it’s only 3 miles, it would be fine.

Ruth was quick and she was the 1st girl Chaser through on the 2nd lap, ohhhhh the pressure! I know we’re not competing against each other but I still wanted to do a good job. She tapped my hand, wished me luck and I started moving my legs as fast as they would carry me. After about half a mile I reached the ‘feeling like I was about to have a heart attack’ phase so I knew I was on pace…

The course was well signposted which was helpful as I couldn’t see many people around at all. There were a few runners heading back the other way, I’m not quite sure what they were doing but they all gave me some encouragement which is always nice to hear!

It was obviously a trail run, and fairly hilly, so it was tough to keep a strong pace in places but it was a beautiful place to run, especially through the pond area. Somewhere towards the end I was overtaken by one of the girls from our club, she’s a pretty speedy mover so I wasn’t surprised, she shouted some encouragement and flew by. Unfortunately she pulled over to be sick for a few moments which meant I ended up finishing a few seconds before her. I felt bad, she ran the route about 2 minutes quicker than me so deserved to come in first.

Despite not wearing a club top, the Chasers recognised me and started cheering as I came through the finish, first Chasers team home for the girls!! I measured 2.75 miles on the Garmin and finished in 21.16, it wasn’t fast but it wasn’t bad and I didn’t feel like I’d let the team down. My first competition for the club and I had really enjoyed it!

Come on Chasers!


Final Result? We placed 14 of 37 (Ladies) and our fastest boys came in 3rd overall!

The Night Paula Radcliffe Ate My Dust – We Own The Night

Nike’s women’s only night time race, We Own The Night, was one of the best races I’ve ever run and most definitely the best 10k I’ve ever run. I cannot fault the organisation, enthusiasm, location, value for money, sponsor freebies, entertainment or facilities. Respect Nike, I’ll be back.

Turning up at Victoria Park at 6pm we immediately felt a festival atmosphere. Tents were set up around the park with various things going and there was stage complete with Kiss FM DJs knocking out some tunes.  The place was buzzing.


They were handing out wristbands for different start zones but this was a bit odd as no one seemed to know what finish times the zones represented.  Blue was for ‘professional athletes’ or people who ‘thought they might win’, orange was for people wanting a PB and pink for those who wanted to get round.  Obviously I’m not a professional athlete so so I took an orange band.  However, this bothered me, there were at least 3 people each with big bags of blue bands, seriously, how many professional athletes are you expecting? I stood there pondering for several minutes over which start zone I should go for, why did no one know what the expected finish times were? At this point I thought Zoe might get a bit cross with me. She didn’t, she simply told me to put the orange band in my pocket, go and get a blue band and then I could decide at my leisure. Fair point. I did just that.
We went into the Elle tent where we were offered a free mag, coconut water and bags of various dried fruit.  Then someone asked if we would like a free Nails Inc manicure? Ermm, yes, yes please! We put our names down and went off to explore the rest of the ‘race village’. There was a caravan offering tea & crumpets, a delightful little meringue stall selling all sorts of different flavour meringues, including gin & tonic, cookies, coffee, more coconut water and a large tent selling Nike gear (obviously!) We took a seat on the large comfy bean bags and waited for our manicures. I went for a bright orange colour (because I needed to make sure my nails matched my race t-shirt), & we found out Paula Radcliffe had been in not long before us getting her nails done too, Paula was here!

We headed to the bag drop off, participated in a little warm up and then it was race time! I stuck with the blue band but I was more than a little concerned that I had only seen one other person with a blue band and she was the rather fit looking girl being interviewed…in all fairness she looked like she could win it. Uh oh.
I have since found out the fit looking girl was Perri Shakes-Drayton!!  She didn’t run, she started the race but my quick evaluation of her was correct!

They asked people with the blue bands to wait behind and I was relieved there were at least 25-30 of us. We were then directed to a different area and I found myself walking to the very front of the race, on the start line, where you usually find the elites, how exciting! Whilst waiting there I spotted Paula and I was even more excited, I didn’t know she was going to run and, not only that, but I was literally on the start line with her, amazing!!

I have actually beaten Paula in a race before.  OK, it was the Battersea 5k Race for Life and she was doing it with her grandma, but she crossed the finish line after me, I beat her, and that’s fact!
In all seriousness, it was an honour & a privilege to line up next to Paula Radcliffe on the start line, when does that ever happen?! I mean, there was me, and there was the female marathon world record holder that no one has even come close to beating in over a decade. What a women, what an inspiration.

The countdown hit zero and we were off, I was expecting Paula to zoom straight off so was surprised to find myself immediately running around her. That was weird, I guess she wasn’t racing after all, laters Paula!

All in all I ran a good race, it was fantastic to have a clear start, there was great support from both marshalls & spectators and it was a beautiful evening in East London.  Special mention to Run Dem Crew who were owning their own night somewhere around 4 & 9k cheering everyone on. I felt the love, I high fived you, you were awesome and thank you!

I usually cross the finish line desperately looking for water and being made to wait,  today water was in my hands in seconds, followed by 2 bottles of coconut water then a glass of prosecco. Yeah, the water can wait, I want the bubbles! It was like walking into a party where the waiters greet you with glasses of champagne on a tray, except I wasn’t looking so glam, and the glasses were plastic. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous!

I finished in 47.06, not a PB but a good effort so close to the marathon, I was pleased.

I got my bag back and found out Paula wasn’t planning on going the distance due to injury, so I had beat her, again!  In the last month I have raced Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe and beaten them both!

I found myself a comfy bean bag to kick back & relax on with my bubbles while I waited for Zoe. I had no idea what time the race had actually started in the end so I wasn’t sure when to expect her. She showed up pretty quickly with smiles and we sort out more prosecco which went down oh so very well.  Shall we get some more?  Yeah let’s do that!  I was drunk after 4 glasses so it was only wise to knock back 2 more.  Hey, give us a break we had just run 10k, it was Saturday and we owned the night!


People seemed a bit confused as to why I was spending my Saturday night running…running?  Well, you know what,  I spent my Saturday night with one of my best mates, doing the thing I love the most, with a manicure thrown in, beating Paula Radcliffe and finishing off by knocking back several free prosecco’s. Yep, that was one of the best Saturdays nights in a long time.  Winner!





The day I ran a marathon and beat Mo Farah. 21st April 2013

The alarm went off at 5.50am but I didn’t mind, it was Marathon Day, the day I had been waiting for and training hard for since Christmas and I was so excited!   Marathon day is a funny day, it’s a day of possibilities & hope, of nerves & excitement, anything can happen.

Mum & Dad had been staying with me so they were already up & getting ready for their day in the crowd to cheer me on.   My kit bag had been laid out the day before so a bowl of porridge & banana later and I was ready to go.  Final check of the important things, race number, timing chip, black ribbon, Garmin, gels and I was out the door.

Walking towards the start line, which incidentally was up a massive hill which didn’t seem to end, I got chatting to a couple of friendly girls who were clearly experienced marathon runners.  I asked them if they would be running with music and they both said no, they didn’t want to miss the atmosphere and the crowds.  That was my decision confirmed; I would be running my first marathon with only crowd noise for support…they were going to have to be good today!

I was in the green start, the smallest start reserved for GFA and celebrities.   It really was small, all the runners around me had also earned their place on the Good For Age start line and I felt privileged to be there.  Runners at the green start are given as clear a start as possible, without getting in the way of the elites, champs and fast GFA’s who were at a separate start area.  I kept an eager eye out for some celebs but didn’t catch sight of anyone, at least no one I recognised in lycra.  Myself and Marie, one of the girls I had been chatting too, queued up for the toilet, sorted out our kit and fuel belts and headed to the baggage lorries.  This was it, no turning back, nothing left to do but grab a bottle of water and head for the start line.  It was really happening, marathon round 3.

The start line itself was tiny, I’m not sure where I’ve seen a start line so small and I’ve run a lot of races!  I waited at the front of my pen for a while before spotting the RW 3.30 pacer, Matt Dunn, heading for the back of my pen.  Decision time; I had been toying with the idea of trying to run with him part of the way, I knew I couldn’t go the whole way with him but if I could at least get half way I would be in a strong position and could then drop off.  At this point I figured I didn’t have much to lose, if I couldn’t keep up I’d drop back, no problem.  I know it’s not an ideal strategy, and one that would not go down well with Paula, but this was my race and I had to do it my way, even if I failed.

Before I knew it they were introducing the elites on the big screen, starting with Mo.  There’s been a lot of controversy around Mo’s decision to run the first half of the marathon and my thoughts on this are probably worthy of seperate blog post, but in short, he’s a double Gold Olympic medallist, let him do what he wants, he’s earned that right.

Then there was the 30 second silence in memory of those who died at the Boston bombings just 6 days earlier.  The bombings hit everyone pretty hard, but it struck deepest with runners.  This was an attack on our community.  This was an attack on a day that should have been filled with happiness & achievement, of celebration & joy, a day that brings people together.  In the heart of runners, all around the world, we felt it, and it was still raw.

The silence was pretty moving with everyone falling completely still. There were some tears in peoples eyes.  A few moments after the clock struck 10, the gun went off and we were on the move, we were ON THE MOVE!!

We started off pretty easy, the course was crowded but not so much that you couldn’t move through people and I kept steady with the pacer.  By mile 2 we seemed to be dropping pace, I think he was having trouble getting through the crowd with the group around him so I started to just run at my own pace.  Looking back this was an error, I accidently clocked mile 3 at 7.44 and mile 4 at 7.52, what the hell was I thinking?!  I needed calm down.

I managed to keep a steady 8mm pace until around mile 10 when I felt a twinge in my right calf, I guess it was telling me to slow down but I wasn’t too worried, I hadn’t had a problem with this calf before so I had faith it could go the distance.  I wouldn’t say I was starting to flag at this point but I was fully aware there were still another 16 miles to go and I couldn’t go on at the current pace, I had to drop it.

Although I dropped my pace, I kept fairly steady and took in the sights.  One of my favourites was the magnificent view running across Tower Bridge just before the halfway point, especially as this is where the crowds start to thicken and are going crazy.  When I say crazy, the crowds were immense, absolutely fantastic.  There’s constant cheering, noise, whistles, ‘go on Kat, you can do it’.  Don’t ever underestimate the power of your words to a marathoner runner.  We hear you.  We’re listening.  You really do keep us going!

It wasn’t until mile 16 where my earlier miles came back to haunt me, I knew I was going to struggle. What a surprise.  The sun was out, it was too warm, my calf was aching and I was losing energy.  I tried not to be too hard on myself, I knew the risks going off at that pace and I was fully aware of the consequences, time to suck it up and power on.

The miles started to tick by quite slowly but people kept shouting my name, telling me I could do it, offering me jelly babies & smiles, telling me that I was nearly there, and all those things that you just want to believe at that moment.

Mile 20 was a welcome relief, it was just 10k from here, my family & housemate Zoe would be at mile 22, friends from work would be there with a big ‘Go Frenchy’, banner, other various people I knew would be in the crowd, and I knew the finish line would be there…somewhere.


Mile 22 passed and I knew I had to keep on the right if I was to see my family, the mile went on and on, 22.1…22.2…22.3…finally, at 22.6 I saw them, they were there!  My Mum, Dad, Aunt, Uncle & Zoe had all got up at the crack of dawn and stood for hours on end just to see me run past, just to support me in this moment!  It’s an amazing feeling.

I remember Dad standing there with a camera pointed at me and Zoe shouting ‘you’re awesome’ and I grabbed her hand.  It’s such an unbelievable lift to see friendly faces when you’re so tired, struggling, wondering if you can actually do it.  After that I knew I was so close, the crowds were absolutely insane, relentless, loud, shouting, willing you to succeed, to get to the finish line, how can you not find strength in that?


Finally I was almost there, mile 25 had passed and I’d even seen my friends Theresa & James in the crowd shouting at me which was a great surprise.  Then the finish line was in sight, I’d rounded the corner on The Mall and there was one final stretch to go.  Glancing at my watch I knew I’d missed my PB but I was already over it, it didn’t matter, it really didn’t matter, I was about to finish my third marathon!!  This didn’t stop me attempting a bit of a sprint finish though, there was no excuse for a weak finish in my mind.

I went over the finish line in 3.50.39 and ran straight into Dickie.  You know, Dickie B? OK, you might know him as Richard Branson but me & him are mates now you see.  He shook my hand, smiled  and I even thought of giving him a big sweaty hug…don’t worry, I didn’t!

The rest was pretty smooth, tag comes off your shoe, medal goes round your neck, goody bag, photo and then you find the baggage truck with your belongings.  It didn’t take long to find my fabulous supporters, they were waiting in the ‘F’ section, as promised, with hugs and smiles and we all went to the pub.  A champagne cocktail, a chicken salad, a massage and I was happy!

So that was it. I had run marathon number 3.  Not only that, but I has raised nearly £400 for my charity, The Stroke Association.

I ran for Boston.  I beat Mo Farah.  I had a bloody brilliant day.  And I knew there was more to come, I’m not hanging up my marathon shoes yet.