London Marathon 2016 - By Christine Elliot

In short: It all went well... until it didn't! The toughest of the three I've done but also intense and memorable, with amazing support from Eagles and friends. 

Background: I've done Manchester the past two years and enjoyed them. My 3:43 last year gave me a good for age for London. I trained for roughly 3:40 this time was aiming for a pace between 8:20 - 8:30 which would give 3:38- 3:43. But I wanted to enjoy the race and I also was running for charity in memory of my friend Denise and that was more important to me than my time. Training went fairly well but some of my regular niggles did surface towards the end. Ominously, as it turned out.

The day:

Green start, weather good - chilly but sunny. Saw "fire engine", spaceman and T-Rex. Bimbled around with Emily, Ralph and Sara. Loo queue of course. Bags onto trucks, very efficient. Was wearing Stu's hoodie that he kindly donated to the cause. 

Banana, pen 4, countdown from space, we're off! Crossed the line in just over 2 mins. 

Crowded, crowded but good. Flew through the first 3 miles but not too fast. Marshals shouting "hump" at the speed bumps. SE London kids high fiving. Families out. Good atmosphere, very London. 

Hello Kelvin and co at mile 6.

Cutty Sark then 10k still all good. The miles are already coming up after Garmin beeps - should have turned off auto lap. Using pace tattoo - I'm about 20 seconds off 3:40 - that's fine. 

Spot more Eagles at mile 9 and despite knowing them all, I can only yell "Eagles" at them! 

Starts to feel a little tough around mile 11. Then at mile 12 I nearly fall on one water bottle and shortly afterwards fully twist my right ankle on another. Lady next to me asks if I'm ok. I say I don't know yet. Thoughts of the drop-out procedure run through my mind. I keep running and it IS ok, thank God. But I'm a bit shaken. Maybe I already wasn't picking my feet up well enough. 

Turn the corner and - boom, Tower Bridge! Amazing feeling and I look up and savour it. Great Marie Curie cheer squad on left hand side and I go and milk it. 

Off the bridge, look for my work friends Lisa, Emma and Caroline but I don't see them. Half way in 1:50:35

Still doing ok. 

I enjoy Narrow Street, people hanging out the windows and a great noise. 

At mile 16 it just all goes wrong. I don't know why but my right leg just starts aching and I can't pick it up properly. Pace starts to drop and declines over the next 10 miles. 

I had always said this one is not about time so I decide I'm going to get the most out of it. I look at the sights and take in all the atmosphere. 

Mile 19 Run Mummy Run crew. I run over and give Catherine Mulrenan a big hug and kiss. 

Mile 20 - not feeling great at 20. Very different to last time. Uh-oh, now my lower back is hurting. Got to hang on for mile 23

Mile 21 I see my mate Laurence then at last Lisa and co. Stop for quick hug. "It all hurts" I tell them. 

Soldier on and I know mile 23 is approaching, I get up on the kerb where it's low enough and run along. Amazing roar - thank you Eagles! High fives and then I see Stu and the kids - kisses. And one for Mr Eagle too. 

Unfortunately I don't really enjoy the last 3 miles, where the f*** is mile 25? But then it's 600m to go and I do manage to pick up the pace a bit. I thought I would get under 3:50 but no, 3:50:34.

Honestly I don't care. Glad to finish. Great medal, great organisation, find the family easily. 

No triumph but relief and also pleased about raising so much money. I did have a little cry a couple of times on the course thinking about Denise. 

Definitely not doing one in 2017, time to have a fallow year - if not longer! But I'm smiling on all the race pics and if this is my last one, I'm fine with that.