LONDON MARATHON 17/4/11
Report from Liz Stanyer
At 5:30am I forced a large bowl of porridge down, sitting with all the other runners at breakfast. Some were more nervous than others judging by what breakfasts were eaten. Mick insisted his
wasn't a fry up, but it looked mighty like it to me.
Then off on the coach to the start, where we were so early there wasn't a single queue for the porta loos. Not often you can say that. We sat around chatting, relaxing then with half an hour to
go, it was all systems go. Queue to put your baggage on, massive queue for the porta loos, even a massive queue for the 'ladies urinals'!! No thanks!
Then, due to some ingenious engineering on the coach journey to the start by a certain Harrier, myself, Dave Preece, Dave Chittem, Mick Jones, Rob Proctor, and Frank Evans waltzed into pen 2 to
give ourselves a good start. What we didn't account for was pen 2 was full and we were actually ushered into pen 1 which was the mens elite pen. So there we all were, me, the only woman, Frank Evans
with a bright blue curly wig on and the rest of the Harrier brigade, mixing with the South African national team, several Kenyans and a mass of super fit, very serious, competitive young men. We
didn't stand out at all, not even when we were discussing the effects of immodium, urinating into a sponge whilst running, and how we should position ourselves to get on the telly. Good job we didn't
notice the dirty looks, it could have put us off our race.
It took us just about 30 seconds from the gun to cross the start line. Job done!
The start was a bit fast and frantic for me, I wonder why! However it did mean we could get get straight into our running, as we all split up and set off for our own 26 miles.
I loved the marathon. Yes it was hot and yes it was very congested at times, but with that comes an atmosphere I can't quite describe. The miles just tick away as there is always something to see
and hear and there were sights that made me laugh out loud. The hardest part for me was Canary Wharf as it was very hot and there are lots of twists and turns, and its just about the 20 miles when
you feel you are flagging a bit.
The crowd support is well documented but it really is awesome, and very loud. Well done to all the spectating Harriers and families of Harriers who made it along several parts of the course to
cheer us on. It really gave me such a boost to see you all. Running along Embankment Big Ben seemed forever in the distance, but the crowds are willing you on. I saw so many people get the jelly legs
and just keel over along Embankment, which I thought was awful as they were so close.
Running down The Mall to the finish line was something special and will be replayed in my mind for a long time. I was very emotional crossing the line, (must have been the immodium), and a bit
delirious as I waved, gave the thumbs up and a demented smile to a bemused James Cracknell, who I think thought I was a little mad. Still, Richard Branson thinks another Harrier is a bit mad, doesn't
Well done to Mick on finishing his 100th marathon, driven on by his desire to get to the Stoke match. We were all kindly reminded of the score on several occasions over the weekend.
A top weekend, great company and a wonderful marathon experience.
Here are the Harriers times.
Interesting story from Chris Hollinshead. You may be aware that he has had a foot injury for a while and at 17 miles he decided to call it a day. He found the tube station but couldn't get on the
tube so thought "blow it I'll carry on". So thats what he did.