Today marks the 33rd year of the London Marathon and is my first running one of the world's most popular races! I will be amongst some 37,000 running the streets of London.... This year I was lucky enough to be accepted into the 'Good For Age' group, which is for athletes, who qualify within a select time at previous marathons.

After a short train journey from London Bridge, I head towards Greenwich Park with my partner Sunday. Hundreds of runners are distinguished by the red virgin drop bags. I can see the hot air balloons in the distance. Today is due to be a comfortable 14c with clear skies and light winds, so I have opted for just my vest top, Skins and a buff.

With just 40 minutes to spare I say my goodbyes at the good for age entrance. Only runners are allowed from this point. With two red pens, blue and green I can feel the huge scale of runners participating and it is like no other race I have witnessed. It really is the people's marathon!

I am in the second section behind hundreds of faster runners. We squeeze up into the start pen, shoulder to shoulder. Nerves and excitement can be felt all around. I can see runners from New York, Chicago, Canada, Spain.... all nationalities, together to run London. 

Just last week the Boston Marathon was targeted by two explosions at the finish line with two deaths and hundreds of injuries. Today I am running for those who suffered in Boston and will be wearing the black ribbon provided. 

A whistle is blown to start a 30 seconds silence for those in Boston, which is followed by a huge applause amongst us. All the super elite runners are introduced, before a loud send off signalling the start.

It takes a good minute to reach the chip mat to register crossing the start. Garmin and Runkeeper Live is set, so friends and family can track my progress. 

Let the fun begin!

Mile 1-10 (pace/mile)
6:54 6:37 6:43 6:34 6:46 6:50 6:55 6:38 6:44 6:52
Elbow to elbow, runners head out fast, bunched together and weaving in out the best they can. It takes a few miles to find any room, but with all the cheers and excitement I just take in the atmosphere. After two miles the road meets the other runners and we filter together to run the streets. 

Live music and bands play along the road side. Everyone has come out to cheer on this glorious sunny day. 

Water stops are frequent and congested, so I have to signal with my arm to move across the road. At one or two stations I miss catching a bottle but luckily other runners pass bottles down the line. I offer to others, who may need water more than I do. 

Around the boundaries of Greenwich and then by the water edge at the famous Cutty Sark. The crowd support here is amazing and a sea of colour. The film crew swoop down low and everyone waves, thumbs up and smiles for the camera. It is so loud and overwhelming from all the cheers.

Miles 11-20
6:38 6:43 6:48 6:29 6:23 6:04 7:03 6:46 8:13 6:41
Keeping a fast, steady pace, but also aware I am not half way. I eat a Nakd bar in small bites and sip some Nuun water I packed with me. Still feeling strong.

Through Bermondsey then heading towards Tower Bridge, I slow to take a photo. This is where the route just starts to even out and other runners slow down and even start walking. The view is spectacular from the bridge and is one of the highlights so far.

17 miles and passing through the Docklands, I start to feel slightly fatigued, so eat some salted nuts, banana chips and coffee chocolate beans. I keep hydrated with water and my electrolyte solution. 
Reaching Canary Wharf the crowd support is just crazy.  It is so loud from the shelter of the huge skyscrapers and the feeling is amazing. Just running through the business district is like nothing I have experienced before. Under the river through a tunnel, words of encouragement are displayed on inflatable lighting along the road side. 

Miles 21-27
7:00 6:58 6:53 5:39 6:42 6:52 6:22
After St James Gardens the route heads back down the Highway passing the other runners.  It is great to see all the fancy dress and colourful display.  

Running the Thames and through Tower Hill, Monument then onto Embankment. The crowds are packed on each side by the thousands in the heart of the city. Up above on bridges, shouting my name. I hear 'Go Bosh!' a few times, but I cannot place anyone in the crowds. I look out for Bosh-Run (Facebook group) spectators, but it is impossible to spot anyone...

Huge laughter as I approach a runner in a Mankini, it is so hilarious to see. 

Big Ben is ahead, so I know we are close to the finish line. Up along Birdcage Walk and around the bend towards Buckingham Palace. The roaring cheers are so intense here, I can feel a lump in my throat. Runners start to sprint past the palace as quick as they can. 385 yards to go, and with all the strength left in me I race to the finish on The Mall.... 

I look up at the clock and see 2:58... With my hand on my heart for Boston, I cross the finish line. I feel amazing and so chuffed.... after a year of hard work I finally made my sub-3 hour goal! I collect my medal and tears of joy start to flow...

All smiles about to reach the finish

The first call I get is from Helen, screaming down the phone with excitement, 'Oh Lukey, I knew you could do it, I've been watching you live and saw the time'. 

Slowly heading through the finish pen, bag collected, I make my way to meet Sunday and Karen. I didn't see them during the race but they saw me at Canary Wharf.
So in two weekends, two marathons, two personal best times and no longer a London virgin. I am already looking forward to next year and hope that Sunday can join me too.

A personal best on road still came with a price! I prepared my feet and toes as I normally do, with grease, plaster tape and Injinji socks. I still managed to get 5 small blisters around my toe nails.... I did no different than Brighton marathon last week, so I can only put it down to the lack of road miles before these two races...

I would like to thank everyone one of the volunteer's, support and marathon teams for making one of the most memorable experiences, a smooth and safe one. Thanking all my Bosh running buddies and friends for making the trip to London and their continued support and encouragement. Thanks to Karen for her brilliant hospitality and a pleasant stay at short notice and my sister for her continued updates, despite being distracted from my parents at a National Trust house.
Finally a huge thank you to my adorable partner Sunday for being the best supporting partner anyone could wish for and putting up with my crazy race calendar...


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