The blustery, bold start…London 2015

London 2015 was a blustery start, but that’s fine. Training for the London Marathon usually starts in January and so the training journey features large chunks of brutal weather, so if the body is suddenly faced with a sunny, warm “race-day,” then it can be a shock. The actual strategy of getting to the start of the race can be a mini-challenge in itself. Prior to the race, my race buddy and I emailed back and forth multiple times about the best way to arrive at the Start Zone on Blackheath and finally settled on a 7 am taxi to Charing Cross Station (let’s live it up) , to catch the 7:36 train for arrival at Black heath 7:58. Once on the warm cosy train, we didn’t want to get off…could we just continue on a little day out and have a brisk country walk instead? Be brave and get to the start.  So there we are, two hours ahead of the race start and the day is a cold and drizzly one. First off, we decide to get warm and kill some time in Costa Coffee. Many others have the same idea and we are happy to stand in a good British queue for the loo, swapping stories with the other nutty runners, which is a very good use of time. Eventually we have to extract ourselves from the security of warmth, coffee and cake and brave the blustery start. This is where is gets a little sad, as my race buddy is in a different start zone (there are three start zones) and so we have to part ways and go it solo. We hug and snap my pics before I enter my Blue Start. Once in your start area, you fill your time with all manor of activities. Firstly you get a handle on where your bag drop truck is located. Then you figure out your best loo spot. The female urinals were in full swing, with much shorter wait than the portaloo. The female urinals are insane and the comments drifting out from there are priceless. You get given a little paper funnel (seriously weird) and then fumble your way through a humiliating fail, but with a gaggle of other females, so it somehow works. Not the glamorous side of the Marathon. The rest of your time is spent trying to stay warm and watching the huge screen tv as they zoom in on the celebs and elite runners, getting you pumped for the big event. Eventually you take off layers and let go of your bag at the one of the multiple bag drop trucks (the race organisation is mind boggling).  Then, left with your scruffy layers that you’ll discard at the last minute and sporting a black bin bag to stay dry, you head to your start zone. I was in zone 3, for runners predicted to run in 3:15-3:30. Here is where the energy starts to build, the nerves are raw and the runners are huddled in their zone, getting warmth and a strange calm from each other. So here we are on this blustery day, with just minutes to go. Old hoodies and fleeces start flying through the air as runners eagerly de-layer. A stillness seems to set in. The mass of 40,000 runners, each with their own hopes and dreams, are quietly reflecting on their own tremendous journey to get to this start and boldly anticipating the thrilling adventure that lay ahead.