Over 10 thousand people complete this event today. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine running 13 miles and never once being on your own? The streets of Hackney were closed - it was a delight to be able to pick your line without worrying about oncoming traffic. There were bands playing on every other corner, including a really rather good Brazilllian samba band - I could have listened to them for a while, but I had other things to do.
Other things I saw on the way round:
Two ladies wearing false ginger beards and shouting "Gingerama!" Every time they passed a redhead for no particular reason
Several pink tu-tus
More than one person dressed as a banana. I couldn't work out why people kept shouting "oy, banana" at me until one of them passed me.
An incredibly supportive crowd. I must have been offered jelly babies umpteen times by children at the side of the road. I was also offered sun cream at one point. In fact the crowd made a massive difference. There was a man hanging out of a window with a loudhailer shouting out to everyone as we passed. There streets were lined for 100m at more than one point, but the biggest buzz of all was at the top of a hill at the 12-ish mile point just before we reached Stratford. There perched on the top of the wall at either side of the road and the dividing section in the middle was the loudest bunch of people I've ever heard. The shouted your name as we past as if they were there just for you (your name is on your bib). It felt very, very personal just at the point where I really needed it.
Moans ? One or two, but they are trivial. More than one water station had run out when I arrived and the pace makers seemed to go off at Olympic qualifying pace, but neither really mattered.
As for my race, well, with an existing PB of 2h27 set solo on the roads near home with one or two hills, I expected to go faster today. My plan was to run 6:43 kms as far as I could and then hold on for the last section through the very familiar (to me) surroundings of the Olympic Park to the end back at Hackney Marshes. I went through 10k in 1h07, bang on schedule. The plan was working well until about 11k when I developed a hamstring problem. Not severe, but enough to force me to back off. The splits started to slow significantly and I had no option but to alteration walking with running. I was devastated, above all else, regardless of time, I wanted to run all the way. It's not as if I haven't done it before.
Cheered on by the crowd, I kept going and as I passed at least four people with oxygen masks being attended by the St Johns ambulance I realised that my troubles were small
In comparison. I made a point of digging in and running the last mile. It hurt like hell, but that crowd just wouldn't let me stop. As you can see from the photo, Bailey, the westie was waiting at the finish line, as was Mrs Rob. I had terrific support all round today. I finished in 2h43, some way short of target.
On a personal level, I think the best thing I can say is that I made it round in one piece. I guess that demonstrates the standards I now hold myself to and for which, unequivocally, C25K is completely responsible. I never imagined this day would come as I set off on W1R1 back in July '13.
Generally however, I think this was an incredibly well organised event and I'd recommend it to anyone thinking of doing their first HM. I'm looking forward to reading RFC's review now!