London Marathon Support

Posted: May 1, 2015 in Running
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Arrrghhh the pain!

None of these people are Keith, but they are all running the London Marathon and we are cheering them

Spectating a marathon is hard work, not quite as hard as running a marathon, but still hard work. Like running a marathon it requires some preparation. Not quite the long and dedicated preparation of the marathon runner, but the study of timetables and the course map the night before, to make sure that the cheering team are in the right place at the right time to see our man go by.

The first hurdle is getting there. Trains to London on a Sunday are subject to all kinds of alterations that make the timetable more of a wishlist. I was dreading the words “Rail Replacement Service”, Luckily for us our train whisked us to the city with the minimum of fuss. At each stop another hardy band of marathon supporters boarded the train. All had slightly different plans, all were heading the same general direction. By the time we got to London the small band was a heaving mass and most of them were trying to get on the same tube train.

Our first stop was in Greenwich, just before the 6 mile marker. We took the slightly unique route of getting the tube to North Greenwich and walking from the Dome but we arrived in plenty of time. The organisers had provided an app which tracked the runners as they passed the timing mats, we knew Keith had not passed us. This was good. We took up our positions and waited, admiring the weird and wonderful intermingled with the sea of runners. The man carrying a ladder, the man dressed as a phone box, “Big Al”, the woman running in pink stilettos, “Captain Steve”, dressed in a ship captains uniform  and the many and various superheroes (there were many batmen). We scanned the crowds intently for Keith. How hard could it be, he was wearing a red tee-shirt with his name emblazon on the front. There was no way we could miss him.

We missed him. The tracker updated and showed him at the next timing point. This was a little disheartening. We made our way to the Cutty Sark, along with everyone else. It took us ages to reach the Greenwich tunnel. Our plan was to find Keith somewhere on the Isle of Dogs. I know from experience that it starts to get a bit gritty at the 18 mile mark. We had to make a quick stop at the first aid to get a plaster. Supporting can lead to injuries, mainly blisters. We found a place on the roundabout and waited. The man with the ladder came past. Then “Big Al”, he was big and I have no doubt that he was called Al. Captain Steve was still looking strong. Youngest supporter (with a blister) had climbed up high, she spotted Keith as he rounded the corner. Cue cheering, insults and jelly babies.

Next it was on to somewhere near mile 23. The DLR whisked us and a welsh male voice choir, all packed in like sardines, to the Tower of London. We knew from the tracker Keith was behind us but not far behind. We found our spot and got ready. The man with the ladder passed, Big Al was still looking big but decidedly more tired. The telephone box had slowed to a run jog. Any. Moment. NOW! There he was on the other side of the road. He was looking focused, he wasn’t looking our way. We yelled, we cheered, he went by and didn’t see us. He was still running. This was good. We didn’t see Captain Steve though

It was back to the sardine tube for the journey to the finish. It was probable that Keith would finish before we got there, not to worry, we had arranged where to meet up. The text came as we were crossing the road. He had finished and in a better time than he was expecting. This was good. All we needed to do now was find him, make sure that he had some quality fat and grease stuffed in his mouth and, after a train ride home, that he re hydrated on a balanced mix of hops, water, yeast and sugar.

I'll point to the bit that doesn't hurt

Our man, and his number one supporter, looking tired after a high speed sight seeing tour of London


He may have run 26.2 miles but we had walked 11 miles, it’s tough supporting a runner on the London Marathon.


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