Gratitude

Thank you to every one who sponsored me and helped the charity.

The Fetchies who trained with me for long runs

Andy for the start of my carbo loading and mile 18 support

Dave, Karen, Uncle Wayne for being angels as they acted as water/food carriers, and official photographers throughout the day

Fetchpoint for your on the day support and energy

London Marathon 2009
- A Feeling of Incompletion

26 April 2009


The police woman's outfit voted in

With the help of friends and family and even some folks I didn't know, I raised just over £1700 for a charity (LOOK) within 1.5 months, and I completed the London Marathon dragging my tyre in the event. So why should I feel disappointed and incomplete. It dawned on me what is REALLY important to many of us in an event. It is to feel like you have finished the race. No matter how well or badly you have run, to get your finish time in an established event is the only thing that actually matters.

London Marathon is a much flatter route unlike the "long drawn out" bridges of New York. The temperatures in London would never hit Singaporean heat nor humidity. Also I had trained for this event with 2 tyres so that the one tyre I would take to the event would be easy and it was initially. It should have all been in the bag and it would have been except......

Advice from the Clowns

I met two clowns (two guys dressed as clowns) who were too chilled out. I watched the efforts of an Irish man in a clown's outfit going about his business holding out his bucket to the watching spectators and collecting donations. I was too shy to follow. He said to me in a lovely Irish accent "there's no point rushing over to the line when you've got to wait 1/2 an hour". So I chatted to more spectators.

Chatting to another clown (Bill), I told him I would have to wait for him to go over the start line first. He told me he would fight me to be the last over the start line so somewhere I got into "silly mode" and we slow-motioned over the start line. Guess that's what happens when you're surrounded by clowns, chickens, big dolls, men with things sticking out their front, and more....

In this marathon, my box would be dressed up with a bucket inside to collect money. I didn't really expect to collect much as would do my normal race.  I didn't expect the spectators to be as generous as they were in the first mile.

Dilly Dallying at The Start

Lost time 1: As I was about to join the back of the main pack, Bill tells me there are more people coming from behind (late comers), so I wait. Waiting for all the late comers to get to the start line, delayed us going over by nearly half an hour. It was 10:11am when we stepped on the start line. The Irish clown who was a little ahead of me kept on zig-zagging in front collecting money.  I did try to overtake once but he nearly tripped over my rope in his zeal to collect donations, so decided to wait for him to settle as I didn't want the organisers then turning round and start banning crazy ideas because of health and safety. The good thing is, (or perhaps not on hindsight!) as I was moving so slowly, supporters got their kids to throw coins in my bucket. 


A swag of cash being added.
Total collected:
£1 x 11        50p x 12        20p x 20
10p x 34        5p x 77
2p x 297        1p x 236
Rejected coinage: 10 more 2p

After 200 metres the Irish clown looks at his watch and goes zooming off.... there should have been warning bells. I turn round to the other clown, Bill, and as if anticipating, immediately tells me "time does not matter we'll finish the race" but I tell him I've got to move a little faster. I begin to move with a bit more urgency and then about 400 metres away from the start line a lady stops me and says you're the last one so you can have my bag of coins. I say "great" and It was tossed into the bucket that sat in my box. Approximately 3 kilograms of coppers that amounted to about £7!! I was a little concerned at the bag, but thought at least the charity would be happy.

Lost time 2: Along the first mile supporting crowds were even more enthusiastic that I was raising money for a charity and having eyed the bucket in my box, called me to "wait" or "slow down" which I obliged as they got their wee ones to put in some coppers or silvers into my bucket.  Just from this first mile alone, I collected a further kilogram in coinage.

My first mile was very slow and there should have been warning bells in my head. Sense should have asked me "what is your race plan?"  And although dilly dallying was not in the plan, I had lost focus with the enthusiastic giving of people.

A Tyre Puncture


Should have stopped in to repair the kit!

Lost time 3: Things were dragging, quite literally. We were the last participants and I had not anticipated water stops to have packed up so early by the time Bill and I would reach them. About mile 7, I looked in my box for an emergency litre of water and with a little "oh s***" moment, found it had been dragging on the bottom and been torn open.

My box had been broken by the weight of the sack of coins that had been tossed into my bucket. Sadly, somewhere 7 miles back, I had lost the repair kit of string and a roll of masking tape. I needed to fix the box or resort to carrying everything. As Uncle Pete (as in Tess and Pete who went to the South Pole) would say - "just get it sorted and don't just make do"! And he was right especially when there were still a number of miles to cover.

We asked a hardware van and a lorry man if they might have something like a piece of hardboard and tape or string.  Alas none were able to help. A short distance up the road there was a little shop that had cello tape. It would have to do and prayed it would hold. Found a couple of small cardboard boxes to squash into the box and distribute the weight a little. The string fastenings had to be renewed as well as the flimsy string bindings I had used and have worked for 4 marathons had also snapped from the box that had changed shape from the collapse in the middle.  Another 45 minutes of time wasted. Oh well Bill bought me a bottle of water to dampen the stress.

I was now really late for my friends and trying to power walk harder. The weather was not as expected, the sun was beating down hard without a breeze or a cloud. Somewhere in a weather forecast, I read the maximum temperature would be 12 degrees with a chance of a little light rain. I wonder which cows the weather forecasters were looking at because it was a bright, sunny day with a high of approximately of 20 degrees.

Mile 9-13: Supporters


Mile 10ish with Karen and Dave

At mile 9, I met up with Dave and Karen who were angels who came with water and food. Karen the sandwich was great.  It was so good to eat something salty after eating a number of sweet stuff. Now we had a personal group of supporters, personal official photographers and personal water carriers. Who needs any other support when you've got angel friends.  I off loaded the sack of coins to Dave (again thank you Dave as I know the load was heavy). So it was great to have some photos taken by Dave and Karen.


Finding a line to follow

We had to keep moving to get to mile 10 to meet Uncle Wayne, and in my attempt to move faster and keep to the side, I bumped Dave into a side fence as he tried to walk by my side. Hadn't realised I had split his arm open until mile 17 (sorry Dave)!!! Uncle Wayne also had bottles of water for us at mile 10.

Just before Tower Bridge, Karen left us with a bag of gels and drinks which would come in handy later. Perhaps it was a good thing she left us then, as we moved onto Tower Bridge the tourist just watched us, so I decided to entertain myself and yell at them:  "We English are eccentric....look at the clown!!!  Imagine doing a marathon in a clown's outfit! Madness! We're all mad!


Mile 13/22: Fetchpoint

As we moved off Tower Bridge, into town we saw what we should have seen after the first mile. Supporting crowds, music, cheers but on the other side of the road. We were watching the 6-8 hour runners coming though. We'd never make it for that time. Too much time had been lost dilly dallying at the beginning and fixing a broken box.

At mile 13, saw the Fetchies across the road, and a clown (Sarah) came over to give a fantastic hug as well as from Kitty, Heather,  Kath, John and Chris. It was a great lift. It's amazing how positive energy rubs off. (thanks guys).

 

Miles 14-17

From mile 15 onwards the route took us past 4 pubs and blokes were starting to get a little too laddish. Guys yelled at us, one decided  to lob half emptied bottles of energy drink at my box. I was thankful I had the box to distract them as they could have thrown that at Bill and myself instead. We passed another couple of "lads" who cursed us and yelled in our face. Bill had a great response however, for the sake of young viewers and small kids, I'm not allowed to write it here! At this point I was really thankful that Bill was around as Dave had disappeared temporarily somewhere and would not reappear until about mile 17.

By mile 17 the roads were re-opening (16:30) and the marathon signs were being taken down. It didn't matter, we had a map and Bill had some recollections about the route. Another drunk tries to give me beer. I decline, he decides to put the bottle in my box. I give the bottle to Dave and the drunk snatches it off Dave in disgust muttering something about I should be drinking it!

Miles 18-22


On the pedestrian pavement

Lost time 4: Met up with Andy at mile 18. It's always great seeing friends.....even if they do lead you the wrong way! (no worries Andy - Laksa is on you!!!) Having gone 20 minutes in the wrong direction, it would be another 45 minutes before we got back on course.

We were now navigating using a very poor map that only had train station names and no road names. So to help us we used "runner signs" like barriers cleared to one side, emptied bottles, gels and other abandoned "runner's things". Was amazed that runners we came across who completed the event could not remember the route. And when we were desperate, we asked cleaners and young kids for directions.

We blundered our way to mile 19, with the help of a gang of small kids who were trying to "hit" on me! "Sorry kids, you're too young and I need a man!!!" But they were awfully cute as they wanted to help me across the roads, pull my tyre......hmm Uncle Wayne did say my skirt at the back was showing quite a bit more cheek.....

Miles 22-End Confusion


Big Ben - our faithful time keeper
says 20:25

 

Met back up with Uncle Wayne who had my spare tyre. I felt guilty as decided not to take the spare tyre due to time constraints and well Matty (my North Pole buddy) did say one tyre over 26.2 miles is more than enough! It was also an over optimistic idea that maybe I would raise funds on the day to over £3500 to get to two tyre mode and thus would drag them both for the last 4 miles!  (Sorry Uncle Wayne and thank you for carrying my tyre). We lost Dave at mile 23 but Uncle Wayne continued with us until the end.

At mile 26, as we were to head into St James Park towards Buckingham Palace, I changed into the evening gown and was glad to have done so. Baring my cheeks this part of the route would have been indecent!!!


Changing of the clothes! - a bit blurred to keep my dignity!!! :o)

It was 20:45 as we turned the corner of St James park, it looked like construction was happening and we could not see the final gantry. A marshal told us to carry on down the side path and someone would meet us and lead us to the final part. Another marshal met us to give us our bag. We were confused. We asked about the final gantry. We were told it had been taken down so we would not be able to see our unofficial time. We both felt disappointment. Irritated, Bill asked about a finisher's medal. The marshal responded we would not get one but we could ring the organisers to see if they would give us one.  Both of us were disappointed there was no finishing time and now nothing to prove we had at the very least completed the marathon in the worst possible time of 10 hours and 30 minutes when it should have be at the very least about 8 hours. On the positive for me, it was good for training!


A blurry, disappointing sad end!

Bill promises to be back next year to take up my mantra! So watch out for him.

Worst of all (I hate to write this), I may have to do this event with the pet tyre and no collections.  But don't quote me. I really did want this to be my final tyre dragging marathon and need now to concentrate on finding corporate sponsors for the first woman's team to do a back to back trek to the South Pole (2009) and then to the North Pole (2010). So if anyone can help me would love to hear from you.

Lessons learnt from this marathon:


A scene from behind - riding hide!
- caused slightly sunburnt buns!

Some Heckles of the Day:

Male spectator at the start behind the crowd barriers: Sergeant - Arrest me
Me: Why? You're already behind bars

Male spectator: Are you really from New York?
Me: Yes this is a standard issue uniform given to all our women

Male passer-by: That looks hard
Me: Yes it is
Male passer-by: Well you have a nice bum
Me: That's hard too