What A Day

Posted on April 25, 2012 by  

Yes I did it, the London Marathon. I have to keep repeating it back to myself again and again….I did the London Marathon.

The event was everything and more I thought it would be. The very worst and the very best thing I have ever done with an overall experience that will live with me for a very long time. Pleasure and pain, highs and lows but worth every single minute of it.

Of course I already had a big spring in my step before the start following the mighty Reading wrapping up the Championship title on Saturday evening, although there was no partying for me as I ended up celebrating with a final bowl of pasta and an early night in my London hotel (rock and roll).

I was a little nervous of what lay ahead not least of which because I had had a thigh strain that I had carrying for the last few weeks that had curtailed my training since the middle of March but amazingly everything just seemed to slot into place on the day. The weather was kind and I missed the rain which came about an hour after I finished and the crowds around old London town were absolutely fantastic. It was a carnival of noise, fun, live music, pubs pumping out the music and partying from people of all ages. There was high fives from kids, jelly babies from kind old ladies, at one stage a guy in front of me almost ate a handful of Vaseline (mistaking it for some nutritious snack being handed out) and even someone handing out chocolate biscuits (not what I needed after 17 miles but the thought was there). I ran with Elvis, Jimmy Saville, some Wombles, a couple of rhinos, an 8 foot bottle of London Pride, cheered at the sight of a couple of Reading shirts who gave me a big shout back and best of all overtook a guy in a West Ham top (that’s the 3rd time we’ve beaten them this season!).

From the very first mile my name was shouted (printed on my vest, a great tip for anyone looking to do any event like this). And even after 4 and a half hours it was still be shouted as I crossed the line in a final official time 4hours 32mins and 4 seconds. Ok so no Olympic qualification for me and I am sure some will say, how long?? But to me it was everything, I had finished it, quite emotional to be honest. Although not as emotional as being reunited with a post race pint after all these months of training.

I can remember watching all this as a kid thinking one day I will do this but at the same time thinking how can anyone run that far and for that long. Which funnily enough was what I was thinking at about 22 miles when the real pain began to kick in. But the crowds got me home along with the thought of all the support I have had from people on the site, our corporate sponsors, the wonderful charity Seeability (thanks for the post run sports massage and hospitality too, just what I needed), my friends and most of all, my fantastic family. Honestly I could not have done it without them.

Seeing so many people different people running for so many different remarkable and personal causes with such determination and will to succeed was very humbling. Of course the event had its own tragic circumstances, with that poor young woman dying when ultimately she was just trying to help others, the very essence of the whole event. My heart goes out to her family.

With the help of everyone connected with bet72 we have reached a fantastic total for our charity, Seeability and I intend to keep the page up for a few more weeks so if anyone wants to make a post race contribution then please feel free.

Click Here For Darren’s FundRaising Page

Got One At Last – Me and my Jim ‘ll Fix it badge (more photos to come)

A little flavour of the run

For me now, well the mobility is slowly returning, my grunts are getting less as I go up and down (the worse part) the stairs at home and I can enjoy a few more celebratory pints but perversely I cannot wait to get back out and running again, as opposed to putting my trainers on ebay and taking my running kit down the charity shop. Bizarre really.

If anyone had told me all this would happened as little as 18 months ago I would have laughed (especially the bit about Reading winning the league again).

I was almost over the hill, being over 40, overweight and barely done any running since I left school but it just shows, nothing is impossible, you just have to try, put your mind to it and put the work in. It wasn’t easy but then if it was it wouldn’t have been a challenge but you know what, I loved it.

Believe me if I can do this then anyone and everyone can!

Anyway many thanks once again and one thing is for sure, I’ll be back!

Here’s That FundRaising Page Again


2 Comments on "What A Day"

  1. Paul C on Thu, 26th Apr 2012 10:06 am 

    Well done & well run Darren. It’s something I want to do on my 50th in 2 years time. Did you manage to run the whole way round cos, like you say, it’s a hell of a long time to be running continuously. I guess the crowd is the best thing to keep you going. You even beat Greg James, the Radio 1 DJ, but you have some way to go to beat Nell McAndrew!! Well done again!

  2. Darren Hall on Thu, 26th Apr 2012 10:18 am 

    Thanks Paul. An unforgetable experince, so yeah go for it pal, the training is tough and so is the event but a great personal challenge.

    It is a long, long time but with the crowd and the other runners it didn’t seem like it at all to be honest. I had a little wobble around 22 miles, don’t think I had drunk enough on the way round, so I walked for a couple of hundred metres, grabbed some more water and hopped under one of the on course showers, felt ok after a minute or so and got going again.

    Perhaps I will use Nell as my pace maker for next year (a nice view to focus on ahead!)

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