There’s really very little that can describe what it’s like to cross the finish line at the London Marathon. It sounds mad, but the crowds were so electric throughout the race that it wasn’t that hard to keep up a pace… every time I felt like dipping, the crowds made it sound like the finishing line was just round the corner (even though I might have had miles left to go) so when I actually did turn the last corner – seeing a sign that said “400 yards to go” felt a bit odd.
I put in a push at this point, but the weight of the occasion held me back. I had to linger on this moment rather than hurry it along. As I looked around, I heard a voice…
“Go, Michael!” My friend Ollie, who is a police copper, was on duty standing facing the crowds for that last stretch. I threw him a wave and ran on.
There in front of me was the red race ending that I’d seen so many times on the TV. “Look up as you cross the line” was the advice I’d been given. “That’s where your finishing photo gets taken and you don’t want to be looking down at your watch for that!”
Well, no official camera seems to have recorded that moment. I’ve been offered a bunch of fairly poor photos of my running past the Cutty Sark, with another runner’s arm in the foreground, blocking my face – and a few snaps of me looking at my watch. Thanks, but no thanks.
And as for the finishing line, perhaps I’ll just have to keep that moment for myself. All the months of training, the juggling of work and family with the incessant need to get out there and run, and all the fund-raising… and then the heavy weight of that finisher’s medal sits around your shoulders, and it all sinks in.
That was the London Marathon!