Sunday 25th March saw me take part in the inaugural London Landmarks Half Marathon.
As the title suggests, the brand new closed road run boasted a route full of cultural and iconic landmarks including Big Ben, St Pauls Cathedral, The Tower of London and the Shard, to name a few.
The 13.1 mile route is the only one of its kind to see participants go through both the City of London and Westminster.
I was one of 10,000 lucky runners to take part, starting on Pall Mall and with the first half following a similar route to London Winter Run, before heading into the city following plenty of twists and turns.
Despite a lack of running of late, due to other training commitments, I was extremely excited to take part in this event. I knew that I would not expect a PB, as my focus had not been on running for several months, but at the same time I intended to do my best, focus on myself and not everyone around me.
And I did just that for well into half of the race. I started in the purple wave, and got off to a good start. Though it took me a good while to get into the race and find my own rhythm, pacing remained pretty steady. Passing St Paul’s Cathedral and further into the city I had the 2:15 pacer in eye sight ahead of me. Behind me and at times next to me I had the 2:30 pacer. So after the half way mark I knew If I kept at my steady pace I would possibly find myself finishing between my two best half marathon times.
Lots of twists and turns occurred the further we ran into the city. So many that 8 miles into the race I found myself paying less and less attention to the road and disaster struck.
I lost my footing on uneven pavement, twisted my ankle and fell to the ground.
True London spirit kicked in and I quickly found myself surrounded by people checking I was okay, helping me up and even one runner, seeing that I was distressed, held my hand as I assured her I was going to carry on.
So that’s what I did.
It is safe to say that my journey after this point was extremely difficult. Not wanting to cause myself further injury, but at the same time wanting to complete even if it did mean crawling, I developed a run/walk method to get myself to the finish line. Inclines and declines in the road, along with corners, saw me adopt a slower pace and at times a fast walking pace.
Eventually, I was on the home straight – running for several minutes then walking for a short period. The final 500 metres seemed to go on forever, the last part seeing me retrace those final steps from the London Marathon.
I heard spectators screaming my name and I went to a different place. I remembered that day almost a year ago. When I hit the final 500 metres and heard my Uncle screaming my name, by far the loudest in the crowd.
I imagined it was him cheering me on and screaming my name – not complete strangers. And it saw me through to the end at a running pace.
Slower than originally expected, completing in 2:40, however by no means my slowest half marathon. And good time considering the circumstances.
The biggest achievement of all – not quitting. Stupid perhaps, seeing as I have had to slow down the training this week due to injury, but quitting is never an option for me.
The London Landmarks Half Marathon was by far one of the best organised races I have taken part in. From the lead up communication, the race pack (including a very bright running t-shirt), the entertainment on the day and the medal – everything was spot on.
I certainly hope I have the opportunity to run this one again next year!