London Marathon is the event everyone wants to run. It’s the World’s largest fund raising event and is one of the Abbot World Marathon Majors. It’s renowned for being hard to get a place, with thousands upon thousands entering the ballot every year. If you aren’t lucky in the ballot you may opt to take a charity spot but that comes with its own pressures. In 2022 LFR had a great 14 take on the race along with 40k plus other runners. We’ve spoken to the runners, some LFR volunteers and supporters for a quick quote of their most memorable moment.
Kelly Doyle & Laura Goss – Mile 21!
“This is our most favourite part of the marathon… Getting to mile 21 was our longest distance to date and coming around the corner and spotting our running club spread along mile 21 in their London marathon volunteering jackets was amazing and just the boost we needed to make it to the finish. Some of these club members had seen us through from C25K run 1 to supporting us through ever mile of our training with supportive texts and all the low down on the dos and don’ts of the day. You can see the absolute joy on our faces as we spot them all”
Michelle – Sweaty Hugs
Emily McClelland – First Marathon finally done!
“I first got my ballot spot back in Autumn 2019, to run in Spring 2020, then Covid hit and we all know what happened then. I deferred my entry in 2021 and was determined for 2022. Fast-forward to the day it’s near impossible to pin point a particular moment because it all blurs into one. An early moment that the “London Marathon” moment hit me was around the Cutty Sark, this is the first time you appreciate the huge crowd and amount of support that is coming, I clocked my quickest mile here by accident as I got swept around the route here like a river. The next high was spotting my family and Dougie at all the planned points, seeing people you know is a HUGE boost! And of course LFR at mile 21!
My low moment was probably The Mall to the finish, I think I’d hyped that moment up so much in my head and how emotional I thought I would be, that when it came there was nothing, I was just relieved to get it done and so exhausted that there was no emotion! Damn, I’ll try for some tears next time!”
Dougie – Anyone can run, but it takes a special kind of person to run a marathon
“Whenever I set my alarm for 5am in the morning, it must be to go on holiday, but this early riser had to get the bus. Along with Captain Emily, Selena and Mike we drove down to Church Square in Leighton Buzzard to meet coach full or runners, marshals and supporters for the London Marathon 2022. Despite the early hours, everyone was excited and buzzing for the day ahead. The coach had a great atmosphere as people traded their training plans and previous long distance running tips, many prepping their bags and eating their breakfasts. The journey was smooth as the first stop in London dropped off the mile 21 marshal volunteers, with a quick drive to the starting lines. Hugs and well wishes were shared as everyone made their way to the start to the coloured stages. Music, fancy dress and celebrities were everywhere, and luckily, the weather held out as the starting klaxon sounded. OFF THEY WENT!
From Blackheath, along with the LFR Flag, I ran the 1.5 miles to the Cutty Sark. I saw the leading Elite males sprinting their way down, and spotted the Captain looking strong at 6 miles in. From here, I took the underground from Greenwich to Tower Bridge. The crowds were busy so I decided to venture to Canary Wharf. I cheered Mike and Emily at the nearby water station before seeing them again at mile 25 opposite the London eye. The atmosphere of the London marathon is amazing. No matter what is going on in the world, there is nothing quite like the unification of human kind, like the support of a marathon running event. Everyone cheering everyone. Love and support were everywhere.
Although I sadly did not get to see all the LFRs running, it was great to follow you all and cheer you all from the tracking on the London Marathon app. Very proud of you all and fingers crossed for you all who have joined the ballot for 2023. Overall, an amazing experience. Many have a marathon on their bucket list; I would also suggest watching and supporting a marathon must be on that list too”
Tracy Cardno – Being a volunteer brings highs and lows
“It’s a very long day and yes we experience highs… We get to stand and see the elite runners, and our friends and family members run. However, our main concern is to be on hand to support and encourage each runner as they pass and when they are struggling. Some of the team had to help a little further with some of the runners, which can be very emotional on its own. Being at mile 21 is hard for the runners as they know they are close to finishing, but the body is getting tired. So, we must deal with the situation in hand whether it’s to help massage sore legs or just give a hug and a word of encouragement to get them back out on the course. Personally, this year I hugged a gentleman whilst he sobbed in my arms until the medic’s arrived to try and get him back on the course. Also, a lady who was near to collapsing but determined to keep going, so I followed her in case she fell back, it took a lot of persuasion to get her to stop for a moment so I could chat with her to make sure she was ok to get to the finish line and just give her a hug (again whilst she sobbed and she explained to me she had just phoned her daughter and told her she was a failure!!!) really lady you’re at mile 21 be proud of yourself!
Whilst dealing with the runners we are also dealing with the public – this can also bring highs and lows. You get the people who thank you for helping and for a few moments whilst they wait for friends or family to run past you, you become part of their support team with lots of banter. Then you get the person who gets abusive because they live local and want to cross a closed off road not caring about anyone else having fun and staying safe!!
You come home tired and emotional and feel like you have also run a marathon, but hey bring it on I love being a volunteer ?
Jenny Hogan – supporter!
Jenny and Bob secured their spot just after the bend at mile 18. She said it was fantastic to see our LFR
runners but a shame they didn’t get to see everyone. The highlight for Jenny was getting a cuddle off Laura and Kelly, which nearly made her cry! They are both thinking about volunteering next year now. They didn’t snap any pics of LFR runners but they did of the elite! Jenny is proud of all of us and envious of the purple T-shirts!
Nolan Johnson – Once in a lifetime experience
The London Marathon was amazing, if only you could bottle up the experience! Rarely an experience takes my breath away, but when I turned the corner and saw Tower Bridge ahead it was phenomenal. I couldn’t wait to get to mile 21 to see the LFR crew and was greeted by Tracy who accidentally knocked my hat off! I knew at this point, I was on the homeward straight, and the crowds just got bigger, and the cheers louder. The beauty of this race is ANYONE can do it, and I firmly believe everyone should experience the LM once in a lifetime. Now for the wait to see if I’m in next year!!
Mike Ellyard – pain is just the French word for bread
“To my initial horror I received my email to tell me I’d been lucky enough to get through on the marathon ballot… I never thought it would happen ?! Having double and triple checked it I decided I better do some training! I did my long runs at about 5am on Sunday mornings and then a couple of shorter sessions during the week. Before long I was sat on a coach next to Selena who appeared horrified at the lack of thought and research I had completed leading up to the race. She told me EVERYTHING… and I do mean everything that I needed to know on the journey up! I started and then ran on my own for the most part. The most incredible atmosphere and the best support during a race I’ve ever experienced. I have never seen so many people supporting a race. I saw Anthony Joshua handing out Lucozade and my favourite handmade sign was one that simply said ‘pain is just the French word for bread’. There were highs and lows like with most long distance things I’ve done, my low came at 20-21 miles when I started to cramp up. I was cheered along by the clubs volunteers and was then boosted when Captain Emily ran up behind me and offered some words of support. This small amount of encouragement pursuaded me to sort my self out and get it done… I jogged home in 4hrs15. All in all, a great day… and I’m in the ballot for the next one!”