London Marathon – Lesley Wall

The London Marathon. What can I say……….
It was an amazing experience and I would recommend everyone to enter the ballot, to try and be a part of this fantastic day.
The marathon was on the Sunday so we caught the train down to London on the Saturday, bright and early. Our hotel was by the ExCeL in East London which was handy for the Virgin London Marathon Expo held there, which is where I collected my number and which in essence was a huge exhibition. It was very busy – there were so many stalls with sports clothes and trainers on sale and lots of exhibitors, sports massages and guest speakers. It was a great day.
Then it was time to chill, ready for the next day !!
I woke up at 6.30am Sunday morning, feeling really nervous and anxious. I couldn’t speak to anyone for a while that morning, which is nothing new to be honest but I had so many thoughts going through my mind. Mostly hoping I got to the start in time! Anyway we set off, the weather was perfect which was a bonus – dry and cool. After 3 trains we arrived at Blackheath (blue) start about 8.30am. No one could go through to the start with me so I said my goodbyes and went through feeling even more anxious and alone. That all changed though  I got to the pen I’d been allocated to, which was number 5 so I was quite near to the front. I got talking to a lady which put me at ease and took my mind of things a bit. Next minute we were off………
I crossed the start line about 5 minutes later and straight away there were crowds lining the streets. There was a brilliant atmosphere all the way around the 26.2 miles and lots to take your mind off the challenge ahead. There was a guy with a basketball and his challenge must have been to run all the way bouncing this ball, there was a guy with speakers on his back blasting music, people dressed up and that was just at the beginning – so many things to keep you smiling and entertained. There was a blue line painted on the road and as long as you stuck to this line you would do 26.2 miles, if you deviated from this line a lot then you could end up doing 30 miles if you’re weren’t careful. Frank drilled this into my head so I was so focussed on this blue line – something else to take my mind off what was ahead. I felt relaxed and kept my head up high taking everything in, looking at the crowds and enjoying it!!!
There were steel drums, brass bands, DJ’s, singers, music blaring non-stop; I just couldn’t believe the support. I had my name printed on my t-shirt at the Expo as-well so quite a few people were cheering me on and shouting my name. The crowds did literally carry you, especially in certain areas – the best bit for me was coming across Westminster Bridge. The atmosphere was unbelievable!!
I kept powering through and in no time I’d done 22 miles. I still felt mentally strong but my legs were getting tired. I’d ran quite consistent splits for most of the route until at this point when I lost focus for a short while. I had an argument with myself as I usually do, had a couple of gels and kept going, desperate to get my goal of under 4 hours!! My last 2k were my fastest, I knew what I had to do and I crossed that line in 3 hours 56 minutes 
I was overwhelmed!! I collected my goodie bag and medal, had a couple of photographs taken and then I heard my mum shouting me and burst out crying!! I couldn’t believe what I’d just done. Since joining Stoke FIT 2 years ago, I never ever thought I would have completed a marathon.
I then started the long hobble over to the meeting point where I was meeting my family, under the big W for Wall. The whole event was so organised and therefore luckily it was easy to find my family amongst the thousands of people. I finally found them and there were lots of hugs and congratulations.
I kept moving after that as much as I could so that I didn’t seize up and we made our way home. I can tell you I slept well that night with a big smile on my face 
Fingers crossed I’m in next year……………..