London's Calling

May 2, 2016

Well, it is that time again....the opening of the London Marathon ballot.


Every year I enter, every year my decline arrives in October!


I have now entered the race about 10 times in all and I have ran it just the once, back in 2010.  It was in fact my second marathon and still is my second fastest marathon time (and I still proudly wear my super large finishers t-shirt as my PJs).


This race is known as "The Marathon".  I know there are better races out there but year after year I enter, waiting hopefully by the letterbox for my acceptance magazine.  Year after year I am bitterly disappointed at being rejected and subsequently spend the entire day sulking about my failure!


Despite running other races, I am always asked "Are you running London?" or "Are you running The Marathon?"  Each time my answer is "No".


The race is over crowded.  It takes about 20 minutes to actually see the race start.  The first part of the race is rather non-descript and is spent going through an estate on the edge of London. So what is the appeal of the race I hear you ask?  There is just something about the race that gives me a buzz.  It could be the location, the sights, the crowds, the atmosphere. The travel to the start should be a deterrent but having to venture to the start line on the tube with no family, just a bunch of nervous runners is all part of the adventure.  The other attraction for me is that the race is so difficult to get into.  All those rejections; it just makes me want to get into the race even more!


It's also a great race for my family too.  We all get to venture to the big city for the weekend and they can explore the sights of London, whilst I run around the streets like a loon.


I do watch the race on TV every year though.  This year was a particularly good event - the men's race was an exciting one, with the winner, Eluid Kipchoge being just 8 seconds from a world record time.  The women's race was just as exciting as poor Jemima Sumgong came back from falling and cracking her head on the floor to win the race.  What an amazing come back. I would have probably curled up at the side of the road and just given up after such a spectacular fall but not Jemima!


David Weir was aiming for his 7th win in the men's wheelchair race (I always cheer him on) but was sadly beaten by Marcel Hug by a matter of seconds.


This year we also had the exciting race of the Brits as they tried to secure their places in the British Olympic team.  A cracking result for the youngster, Callum Hawkins, who managed to get a top 10 finish on the day and secure his place in the British team.


I do enjoy watching the elites run but I also like watching the "normal" folk too - trying to spot people I know, seeing all the crazy costumes but I also like all their stories too; their reasons for running - some are incredibly inspiring (and rather emotional).


The best way to get into the race is through a good for age spot and that has been my ambition since I started this marathon lark.  My good for age time to get into London is 3:45. My PB is 4:00:27.  I have tried over the years to beat this time without success.  Each year I vouch to get fit, eat healthy and smash that good for age time.  Each year, I am tempted by cake and treats and enjoy plodding around each of the races, just enjoying the scenery and the whole experience rather than putting my head down and just going for it.


I don't have any road races coming up in the next few months to try and get a good for age time.  I've got a few trail races, but these are generally pretty challenging and not suitable for cracking my PB so my fate is once again in the hands of the ballot draw.


Well, my entry into the ballot has now been submitted and I now have that long wait until October to find out whether I have a place.  Keeping all my fingers, toes, arms, legs and anything else crossed that this year I will finally get a place.  There are only so many rejections a girl can take!

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