We did it! We did it! After months of blood, sweat, toil, and tears. After training on three continents in weather from freezing cold to 104-degree heat. After battling everything from stray dogs, severe thunderstorms, deep pot holes, stinging insects, crazy drivers and even armed soldiers, we have done it! SARAH AND I HAVE FINISHED THE LONDON MARATHON!
We were excited, but a bit concerned as we started out early last Sunday morning on the train under cold and drizzling skies. It didn’t take long though until we were caught up in the excitement of race day. Hordes of fellow runners practically overwhelmed the London Underground as we made our way to Greenwich Park and the starting line. Just before the starting gun, there was the beginning of blue skies and a brisk wind. It took almost 30 minutes of slow shuffling to get 38,000 people across the starting line, but soon we were on our way.
By the time we passed the Cutty Sark we were warming up and shedding the old clothes we had bought the day before to wear over our running clothes and protect us from the unexpected cold. The crowds were amazing and kept us motived as they shouted out our names in encouragement (we had our names written on out shirts) as we clicked off the miles. By the time we crossed Tower Bridge we were both exhausted, but crossing the Thames was about the halfway point and after the Isle of Dogs the crowds lining the race route got heavier and heavier. Every mile brought something new. We passed brass bands playing, gospel choirs singing, string quartets and rock stars all belting out sounds of encouragement.
After what seems like (and in some way actually was) forever, Big Ben came into sight. By this time my feet were blistered, my knees hurt and even, for some reason, my fingers were numb and my arms were aching, but again it was the crowds and kept us going. By the time we passed the Houses of Parliament we knew the agony would soon be over. As we rounded Buckingham Palace we could see the finish line and we used the last of our energy to get there.
Yes, it was a challenge, but in the end definitely worth it. We don’t do these things because they are easy, but because they keep us looking forward and engaged. Also, it has been great raising money for one of our favorite charities Action Aid.
As I write this it is Tuesday morning and we are still a bit sore, but mostly recovered and ready to take on a new challenge. In a few hours, we are going to board a plane and fly to France where we will walk across the Pyrenees and then walk 850 kilometers across Spain on the Camino de Santiago over the next 30 days. Although we will be traveling light, without a computer or fancy cameras, I am hoping to be able to give some updates here on the site through my smartphone. It is an experiment and we will see how that works.
Again, please, if you can afford it, give a bit to Action Aid to help us reach our goal. Every little bit helps. And we hope you will follow Sarah and me as we walk across Spain! “Buen Camino!“