Well I finished! In 3 hours and 28 minutes. It was a tough race and with a certain amount of pain, but the deed is done, the medal has been worn with pride. The day was ideal for running, overcast with a cool quiet air. I was positioned in the “Blue Zone” and in start zone 3 for runners aiming for 3:15 – 3:30. My goal was indeed to run under 3 and half hours. Starting out with this group was positive, I felt comfortable with my stride and clustered with runners of a similar pace, so it was easy to get moving at the right speed straight away. With the fantastic London crowd lining the route, this happy situation continued for several miles, until about mile 10, when I was aiming to see my cheering crew, but somehow I reached mile 10 ahead of time and so they missed me by a hair. This caused a little dip in my focus and energy, but I rallied myself and pretended that everyone that shouted my name (name on shirt really helps with attracting random support) was my “new family.” I kept myself steady with my counting mantra, counting in keeping with my stride and focusing on the aim of the day (my fundraising achievement for HD). Snaking around London, experiencing the tremendous energy of the crowd support is so overwhelming. The route is literally lined with smiling supporters from start to finish, which gives the runner a huge boost every step of the way. The party starts early for the supporters that are spilling out of the pubs from 10am. Seeing people toasting you with a pint (or a flute of champagne at certain trendy spots) is surprisingly wonderful… there you are sticky, sweaty and slogging it out amongst the pure cheer of the dedicated, generous and good humoured crowd. Music fills the air with brass bands, steel drum bands, youth choirs, radio DJ’s and all sorts of blasting noise makers. Apart from that fact that you are running a Marathon, it really is a terrific party. Despite all this positivity, I did start to dip a little about three quarters of the way along and my support crew did me proud, by being front and centre at both mile 17 1/2 and again at mile 19 (there is a clever little cut through between these spots, that they worked out). Seeing their sign tall and clear, made them stand out and with tears of joy, I managed to little “high five” with my youngest son and that really recharged my pace. I wish I could say that the rest was smooth sailing, but the heaviness in my legs started to drag me down and from Limehouse to Whitechapel it felt like running through treacle. All I could do was keep my eyes focused straight ahead and my head clear. With this simple “strategy” my body started to co-operate and I managed to hold strong!