It’s the London marathon this weekend, which always reminds me of trips there. I should add that I have never competed myself, but my wife has a few times, and I have gone along to support. The first time that I went along, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the experience. I stood at one of the points where you can see two sections of the race, and whilst I was waiting for my wife to run by one section, I could see the elite athletes on the final section. There was great support and energy from the other spectators, and it was just wonderful to see so many people not just achieving an incredible personal goal, but also raising huge amounts of money for all sorts of good causes.
Once my wife had run by for the second time, a second race started. I was trying to get to the finish line before she did to cheer her over, with her following the course and me using the tube. It was a close run thing, but I got there.
The finish line of the London Marathon – or I presume any other marathons – is quite incredible. The look of elation that people have as they finish, normally exhausted, knowing that they have done something incredible, is wonderfully uplifting. I cannot imagine a better inspiration for people wanting to make a difference or achieve a goal, whether as a runner, or otherwise.
We went to the reception organised by Guide Dogs, the charity for which my wife was raising money, and then went off to meet up with some friends for dinner. My wife was proudly wearing her medal, and as we walked around London and went to a restaurant, there was a camaraderie with other marathon runners still wearing their medals too. I felt so proud to be with someone who had completed such an incredible event.
It is easy to forget just how incredible it is to complete a marathon. When the London Marathon first started, those who completed it seemed superhuman. As it has gone on and got bigger and bigger, there are more people around who have crossed the finish line, and it makes it easy to forget the scale of achievement. I remember well the amount of training and effort that goes into the few hours around the streets of London.
I have huge admiration for anyone who can complete a marathon, and I wish the best of luck to all those running in London. You are an inspiration.