Ah yes, the part at which it all started to go a bit weird. I struggled on, walking but occasionally managing to jog half a mile or so before feeling like I was going to fall over. I knew the 13-22 mile section was going to be difficult, you’re running away from the finish, you’re already tired from running 13 miles, it’s a big twisty loop…normally it’s pretty quiet round there but I have to say I don’t think I saw a let up in the spectators in the entire section! They were amazing!
I was still feeling really nauseous as the course headed back round towards the Embankment, so I popped into a Portaloo to see if I was actually going to be sick. No such luck, but as I headed back out I heard a runner behind me yell ‘Becki’ and looked round to see it was Becca Boop who has been one of the e-marathoners hanging out on Twitter. What are the chances of meeting someone you know amongst 35,000 people!? She will tell you that I helped get her to the finish when the truth is she got there herself and helped me get there instead of the other way round! It was lovely to be going along with someone again after so many miles on my own.
The relief I felt as we passed Tower Bridge again at about 22 miles is indescribeable – we were on the home straight! The sun seemed pleasant rather than scorching along the Embankment, and the trees made lovely dappled shade. There were still so many people cheering us on! I saw my dad again, and Heather and the JustGiving gang who screamed at me (in a good way)! Soon the Blackfriars Underpass approached, which I managed to jog through and got Becca to jog through too. When you come up from the underpass, you can see Big Ben behind the London Eye, which is of course practically the finish (only a mile and a bit to go). We were so close!
Soon enough we were turning right past Big Ben (which is more sparkly in real life) and down the last long section of Birdcage Walk. It wasn’t long before we saw the turning right past Buckingham Palace and I mentioned that we’d have to do a sprint finish. With 385 yards (the .2 of the 26.2 miles) to go, Becca suddenly took off on her amazing sprint finish. I attempted a sprint finish but feeling like I was going to pass out, so it wasn’t one of my best, but at least I ran over the line! I managed 6:28:32 which is about an hour faster than last time but an infinitely better experience. I was aiming for 5:30 so maybe if I could get the nausea under control I could do a faster time. Not that I’m ever doing it again you understand!
With timing chip removed from my trainer and medal hung round my rhino horn by one of the lovely medal ladies, I set off to find my stuff, and those longed-for Lemon Puffs. I was reunited with Becca briefly before being dragged off to the Save The Rhino rug by one of the lovely STR ladies. There were loads of other rhino runners there, eating, being massaged, chatting about the experience. I was OK until I finally stood still at which point I had to run off and be sick (sorry, too much detail!). Once that was all out the way I returned to the group and managed a civilised (I hope) conversation with Neil and his wife Lorna along with some of the other rhino runners – Louise (who was running in a rhino suit!) definitely launched herself at me for a hug, and I think Stephanie may have aswell, it’s all a blur!
Heading back to the tube across St James’ Park, I was wandering along in a daze, not quite comprehending what I’d just done. By the time I got back to the hostel and had received loads of congratulatory texts I was on the verge of tears and as soon as I was in my (thankfully empty) room I burst into tears for a good 10 minutes! Probably a combination of exhaustion and emotion and the fact that it was all over :(
To cheer myself up, I limped out to find some food and ended up having no dinner but two puddings :) A lovely end to an amazing day!