Hannah Marchant is a paediatric physiotherapist from Dorset and in April ran her first ever marathon in London. KUDOS donated a running vest for Hannah to wear during the race, and this is her account of a gruelling but rewarding day.
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So it has been nearly two weeks since I completed the London Marathon, although it feels like a lifetime ago!

The day before the marathon I went to the London Expo Centre to collect my kit bag and number. For me, this is when the realisation kicked in that I was actually going to run the London Marathon! Everything was so well organised with lots of exciting stalls and freebies up for grabs. I spent the remainder of the day exploring London and eating all carbohydrates I could get my hands on!

Pre-race nerves

On the day of the marathon I woke up with a mixture of emotions; from nerves to excitement. The organisers had sent all participants lots of health and safety information. A huge focus was on the unexpectedly hot weather. This was the most daunting part of my marathon experience as I, like many of the other runners, had trained throughout what felt like the longest and coldest winter, only to then have to run in 25 degrees heat on the day!

Once I left the hotel I went and caught the train to the start line. This was an amazing experience in itself as I was surrounded by the buzz of thousands of other soon-to-be marathon runners, and it was soon time to say goodbye to my family, and enter the start zone. I think this is when the real nerves kicked in and all of a sudden I felt very alone (or alone as you can when you’re surrounded by thousands of other people) with the prospect of running 26.2 miles ahead of me. I quickly got talking to other runners, and found myself feeling incredibly lucky to have got a ballot place first time; some people had waited 8 or even 9 years for a place!

As the time crept closer to 10am, the excitement built, the crowds grew larger and the cheers got louder! This was then followed by a stop – start walk as I was in the blue start zone (runners expected to finish between 4 and 4 ½ hours), so I didn’t actually cross the start line until around 10.30am.

Time to run

It was then time to start running… and the first couple of hours was a blur! Thousands of people lined the streets cheering and offering jelly babies to keep us all going! I saw lots of people running in fancy dress; such as Forest Gump, Olaf from Frozen and even firefighters in all their kit! I saw my family and friends who had kindly surprised me first at mile 6, then again at miles 11 and 21.

The first half of the run I can honestly say I enjoyed – however from around mile 18 the real pain kicked in. I had injured my knee at mile 9, and the sun was getting what seemed hotter and brighter. The temptation was to stop and walk, but I knew if I did the pain and effort to start running again would be greater. When I saw my family for the last time a few miles from the end, I felt determined to just keep running with the thought of ‘the quicker I run, the quicker I can finish!’ In fact, my quickest mile was the 25th and 26th!

The hard work had paid off

When I crossed the finish line; a feeling of relief rushed through me. I was so glad that I had managed to complete the marathon, and not let any of the sponsors down. All the training; determination and nagging for sponsorship had paid off! I completed the marathon in 4 hours 59 minutes, a lot slower than I had hoped and planned, however I didn’t care. Adrenaline was flooding through my body and I was so excited that I had done it! I had completed the London Marathon! When I collected my medal and met my family and friends I was buzzing! I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about everything I had seen en route, how hard it was; but overall how amazing it had been.

Post-race pain!

An hour or so later the real pain kicked in. My legs felt like jelly, I was very cold and felt physically sick. The buzz from the day had gone, and I needed food; a lot of food!  The next couple of days I had booked off of work (thankfully) and I spent my time eating; watching the marathon on iPlayer, and going to a spa!

The London Marathon was honestly one of my best experiences, and certainly one of my proudest achievements to date. I raised £1800 for my chosen charities, got fit, and completed a challenge I never thought I could. When people asked if I would sign up for another, in the first couple of days after the marathon, I said ‘never again’, however a few weeks down the line I’m finding myself missing the training schedule, and looking for upcoming running events.

I would encourage anyone who is thinking about signing up for the London Marathon to do it. The event is like no other, and I promise you’ll have the best time and feel great for doing it!

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Thanks so much to Hannah for taking the time to contribute two fantastic guest blogs for us, and congratulations from all at KUDOS on a sterling achievement and raising so much money for a terrific cause. Hannah has perfectly exemplified how anyone can achieve great things with a bit of dedication and determination.

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