Cheering Chasers at the VLM

I had a pretty emotionally intense day yesterday cheering on my club mates, and a whole bunch of strangers too, at the Virgin London Marathon. I cycled down to the Highway early in the morning, via Edd’s house for coffee (absurdly good coffee too, I have to add), got briefly lost in the City (I always get lost on my bike in the City), and then decorated a tree in the bunting I’d made the night before. 20130422-213059.jpg

Chasers brought their vests to use as makeshift flags, which we sellotaped to the poor tree too. Our real flags and banner arrived later in the morning, having been on holiday with the runners in Boston the week before (thankfully all our runners there were just fine).

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We had lists of our runners’ predicted times prepared and we calculated what time they would pass us at the halfway point, traveling East along the Highway, and then West as they doubled back past us at 22 miles.

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We had a lot of cake (Chasers are very good at cake, as mentioned many times in previous posts) and Edd bought me a Stella too (I’m off training and on the sauce).

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And jelly babies for the runners.

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The atmosphere felt different to last year. It was noticeably quieter – it seemed less noisy and the crowd seemed thinner. I wonder how many runners had persuaded their families to stay at home following the Boston bombings. But we still squealed and cheered, called strangers’ names and anxiously waited for our runners to appear in various states of panic/joy/pain/cheerfulness. Our runners were incredible, collecting PBs and kudos.

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My running buddy, Kayleigh made her marathon debut and the relief to see her pass us at 22 miles and to know she was on her way to completing such a huge challenge was pretty emotional (though obviously more so for her and for her boyfriend, who she ran to for a hug). She’s a bloody trooper and my inspiration for the New Forest Marathon.

Needless to say, a day of watching people struggle right in front of me with cramp, fatigue and dismay has left me absolutely terrified about my upcoming marathon debut. But I took comfort in the cake and in the many thousands of runners. And the many, many pints of ale consumed with Edd afterwards.

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