Posted by Rob Quigley on April 23, 2013 2 Comments
The sun was beaming through the window when I woke up early on Sunday to go and see the London marathon. We knew a few friends doing it and they had been adamant that we had to tell them where along the route we’d be – and even what side of the road we’d be on. I thought we’d be grand and just turn up along the route somewhere and see them no problem. Well the crowds here are just off the scale. It felt like there was a million people cheering along the route.
We first went to mile marker 12 where it was about 20 deep at the barriers! The corwd are cheering and almost all the particip[ants had their name printed on teh front of their tshirt. It’s great because you could shout “Go Tony!” or “Come on Diane!” instead of just random woo hoos. It really registered with the runners and they’d look around and acknowledge your cheers.
Whatever about the crowds of supporters; the crowds running the marathon were unbelieveable. I’d never seen almost 40,000 people running along but it’s an amazing site. People are passing by so fast as well that it’s almost impossible to recognise anyone. We noticed a few seasoned supporters around us wearing funny hats, or all wearing the same colour, so their friends running the race would see them. Clever thinking.
The atmosphere was so joyful, carnival in fact. Anytime any group around us saw somebody they knew everyone starting cheering even louder. With the sun beaming down it was probably a little warm for the runners but for the supporters it was the most magnificent Sunday morning.
When the runners started to thin out at mile 12 we moved – in a strategic manouver – to near mile marker 23 to catch people on the (almost) home stretch. Again the crowds of supporters stretched for as long as the eye could see. I spotted Michele Rouge Jr. (of masterchef fame) running along with his name “CHEF” written on the front of his shirt. Of course I let out a loud “COME ON CHEF!” to which he nodded his approval.
At this stage in the race it’s been 23 long hard miles in the heat and I couldnt get over the amount of people running in costume. Beer bottles, camels, rhino suits, shark – I don’t know how they ran so far in those big heavy (sweaty!) costumes but they did. Everyone did. They kept going. One foot after the other. Next step. Next step. The events of the week before no doubt weighed heavy on everyone’s minds with a number of runners wearing a black ribbon in solidarity with those killed and injured in the Boston marathon bombing.
The organisation of the London marathon is on a scale I could never have imagined. So many worthwhile charities raise so much money at the event and are so organised in their support of the runners. Charities, running groups, companies and friends all arrange meetup points to support their runners together. It’s great to see so much positivity on the streets of London and there was a community sense of shared experience that can maybe sometimes be lacking in a city of over 11 million people.
Alas on the day we didnt see any of the friends we had gone to support. The magnitude of the occasion and the sheer volume – and speed – of the runners getting the better of our (usually) eagle eyes. We did however managed to find them in the pub afterwards at one of the many post race meetups that happened all over the city to celebrate the achievements of the 34,631 participants.
Having seen the spectacle and atmosphere of the marathon it might just be time to consider planning for a long run myself this time next year