Monday, 1 May 2017

5 things no one tells you about running London Marathon

You're full of an unspeakable amount of pasta, drunk so much water you could drown, and trained for 3 months to get your legs ready. You're so ready to run London Marathon and so far everything they've told you is true; the queue for the loo IS insane, and the expo was great fun. But, caution runners, there are a few things no one told you. I'm here to spill some jelly beans...


1. The road will be sticky

Trying to grab a carbohydrate gel from your pocket, or the hand of a Lucozade stand stranger will mean a fair share of them end up on the floor, and trod on by one of the 39,449 other runners taking part. This gel explosion, combined with the heat of the tarmac will make the floor around fuel stations sticky, something you hadn't planned on facing and can't possibly train for unless you want to put double sided sticky tape on your shoes.

2. Inexperienced runners will fart a lot 

Some of your fellow runners will decide the day of the marathon is the right moment to give these gels a go, not realising the effects they can have on your unprepared stomach. Cue running through an endless stream of farts which you can't avoid. Just watch out for that one person who's fart actually wasn't a fart at all, not that they've noticed/care/can do anything about it. 


3. You'll run more than 27 miles 

Do yourself a favour and turn off your GPS. Yes the course is 26.2 miles, but unless you stick to those little blue lines on the floor the whole way, the likelihood is you will actually run closer to 27 miles, technically making you an ultra runner (but don't say that to an actual ultra runner). 

4. There's a lot of public peeing 

Before you start, you'll queue, and queue some more (especially if you're a woman) to pee. Then after the start line you'll see people quickly nip off to the dense shrubbery at mile 0.1 for a last minute tinkle whilst the residents of Blackheath pass by walking their dogs. It's ok as no one's looking; the cameras are still fixed on the watching the Royals watch you start the run. Farther along the course people will stop at the provided loos, queuing again, until the tunnels. The tunnels are where anything goes and apparently it's perfectly acceptable to head slightly to the left hand side and pee in the street. There's no cameras in the tunnels - this is why.   

5. Chaffing in places you didn't know you could chaff 

You've lubed up under your arms and (for some) plastered your nipples and the wonderful St. John's ambulance people have even been there to soothe fresh chaffing from your fuel belt - it's a warm day after all - who would have known! But, when the 26.2 miles are done, and you step into that hot, restorative shower, you'll feel the burn of 5 hours of salty sweat running into sore spots you didn't know you had, and are too stiff to Savlon. From your back to your butt cheeks, nowhere is off limits. It's times like this you need a friend - a good friend, perhaps with a memory impairment - to help you heal before you vow never to run a marathon again. That way they might not remember your vow when you announce you've entered the next years ballot just a week later. 

Congratulations to everyone who ran the 2017 Virgin London Marathon and good luck to everyone entering for 2018 - the ballot is now open!