VMLM 2017 Marathon Finisher!

As the day broke I was feeling good, albeit a little anxious but hair and makeup done, legs all taped up and kit bag packed, I was ready!! WAS I??? The train journey from East Croydon to Blackheath was like being on the marathon express... the camaraderie of runners, the smell of Ralgex!!

As a charity place runner I had instructions to head towards the Heads Together Hospitality tent to meet up pre-race, for photo and media opportunities, schmoozing with Kate, Wills & Harry before being filtered through to the start line. However, I'd gone through the wrong entrance and was apparently a long way off from where I was supposed to be. As a member of the Team Heads Together Facebook group I've spent months swapping training/injury stories and general marathon obsessed chats with some incredible people, my new friends. Some of which, like me, had charity places (and invites to 'the tent') and others that had ballot places and had chosen to support Heads Together (who did not have invites to the tent).  Fortunately I recognised one of this group and word soon got around that the team Heads Together 'poor relation' Group was assembled outside the ladies changing area. Yeah I could have been having a coffee with Harry or sharing makeup tips with Kate but I'd much rather be with this lot!!!  And as it turned out this was the best decision!! Not only did I get to meet the fantastically supportive Chris Harvey, I'd also reunited with my training day buddy Laura Gallacher and two other equally nervous runners Helen and Hannah. We quickly adopted a 5 min run, 1 min walk strategy (which should have got us in around 5:45) but our concern was just to finish and to finish TOGETHER!!

We crossed the start line at 10:15, waving frantically at Will, Harry and Kate, convinced they'd called our names!! It had begun!! The noise!!! The crowd!!! People have tried to explain what a difference the crowd makes and it really REALLY does!! 26.2 miles of strangers calling your name, encouraging you, spurring you on, kids high-fiving you (apologies to that poor child who I'd made particularly firm contact with...??), offers of jelly babies, Haribo, orange slices or Vaseline!!  My particular favourite was a group of lads outside one of the many pubs en route who shouted across to my team mate "Laura, Laura... Cheese sandwich?" producing half a flabby sandwich from a Tupperware container, his mate next along, like a magician pulling a rabbit from a hat "Wagon Wheel?" ??

We decided to dig deep and run the last 400 metres, turning onto The Mall cheered on by my CEO Richard Pacitti.... desperately in need of the loo!!

I completed my first and my last London Marathon...in 6hrs 4mins!

You can still make a donation at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Keeley

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