Wednesday, April 24, 2013

London Marathon 2013

I apologize in advance for the number of photos in this post.
I just couldn't narrow it down any further. It was such a great day.  
We knew the London Marathon route would be passing very closely and had discussed heading up to the pub to watch.  When the tragedy in Boston happened, we were more determined than ever to get out there and support the runners and volunteers.

About 9 that morning we walked over to the 12 mile marker which was right before the runners turned onto Tower Bridge Road.  It was a nice, relaxed atmosphere with more people arriving as the morning progressed.  We got there just in time to see the first group go by which were the wheelchair athletes.

You can spot British 6 Time Gold Medal Paralympian David Weir in the photo above with the werewolf on his helmet. Shortly after, preceded by the camera truck, were the Elite Female Runners. 


Included in this group is Ethiopian Tiki Gelana, the gold medal winner of the 2012 Olympic Marathon and Kenyan Silver Medalist Priscah Jeptoo who went on to win the marathon.  Unfortunately, later in the race the favored Gelana collided with one of the wheelchair racers. It negatively affected both of their races but luckily there were no serious injuries.

  There have been serious calls for the organizers to change the start times so the Elite Women and the Wheelchair Athletes do not have to dodge each other. 

We moved along around the corner towards Tower Bridge and stopped to watch the next group.  The Paralympian athletes are such an inspiration.  There was a large group of visually impaired who were running with a guide. 

You should have heard the crowd cheering for Richard Whitehead.  He is a British gold medal winning Paralympian and holds the world record in both the full and half marathons for athletes with a double amputation.

The Elite Men were then running towards tower bridge.  Mo Farah, the British double gold-medal athlete only ran half of the course as a practice run for his plans to run the full marathon in 2014.  Sorry for the poor quality of the picture, they passed us pretty quickly. 

After the paralympians and the elite athletes, all of the other runners started reaching Tower Bridge.  You could tell how excited they were.  Many were on the phone or taking pictures of the bridge and themselves running the London Marathon.  I have to admit that I teared up several times during the day.  It was so moving.

The crowd was so loud and excited.  We were joined by our friend Erin and we stood there and cheered for the runners for over two hours.  If they had a name on their shirt we would yell it out to encourage them. "Go, Dave!!" 
If there was no name, we would just yell anything.
"Mohawk!"  "Go USA"  "Guy in green shirt!" "Canada!"  "Go, Pink Wig!" 

We were standing with two of the cutest little boys.  They were cheering their heads off!
One of them, must have yelled almost every name on those shirts.
At one point, he yelled "I don't know all of your names, but GO everybody!!"
Sweetest thing ever.

It was so precious when one of the runners would see a loved one cheering from the sidelines.  They would cross all the way over, run backwards, whatever they could do to get that encouraging high five, kiss and hug to get them through the next 14 miles.  I'm tearing up just thinking about it.  I've seen few things like it in my life.

 And almost every single runner that passed us was wearing a black ribbon in 
remembrance of the tragedy in Boston.  There were several runners who had run in the Boston Marathon that were now running the London Marathon. 

There was a definite police presence, but there was no fear.  And I've read that the crowds this year were bigger than ever. 

Of course I have to mention the thousands of volunteers who passed out water, energy chews and a quick swipe of Vaseline to the 36,000 runners. 

Did you know that the London Marathon is the largest annual fundraising event on the planet?!  Isn't that fantastic? According to their fundraising website, runners have raised over £500 million dollars for charity since the race began over 30 years ago.  Many of the runners are dressed up in crazy costumes.  Can you imagine running 26 miles in some of this get up?  I don't think I could run in the Rhino costume for one mile. 

And yes, this lady was actually knitting as she ran the 2013 London Marathon.  

No British event is complete without a stop in the pub.   The Official Marathon Guide even listed all of the pubs on the route.  Many of them had live music and special deals.  Such a fun atmosphere on a glorious, sunny day.  

 We watched as the last of the runners passed.  Everyone started packing up and leaving.  Crews started tearing everything down and clearing the route.  You should have seen the water bottles!
There had to be millions of them.

 And the fun was certainly not over.  As we sat outside the pub, we heard loud popping noises and then squealing.  As the clean up trucks were going along, they were running over all the water bottles.  They were exploding and spraying water on anyone that happened to be in the area.

Eventually, the truck made its way right in front of the pub.  Everyone was laughing and diving for cover like a bunch of kids.  I think we all three managed to get splashed.  It was hysterical and so much fun!

 Long after all the spectators had gone and all of the excitement had died down,
one lone marathoner passed by with his number displayed on his chest.  He was proudly wearing his 2012 London Olympics gamesmaker uniform and stopped to give us some encouraging words.

 Everyone outside of the pub put down their drink, stood up and clapped, whooped and cheered him on as he continued on his way to finish the 2013 London Marathon
It's a moment I don't think I'll ever forget.
I never knew a 26 mile run could be so much fun
and more importantly, such a moving and inspirational experience.

(Guess who started running again yesterday?) 

Were you at the London Marathon?
What moment inspired you the most? 


  1. These pictures are amazing! So glad the sun was out for the day. I've found myself getting emotional whenever I see photos from other marathons, or even community run groups. I love the running community!!

  2. Such an amazing day! I got up early Saturday morning and drove up to Chapel Hill where they had a 10miler. I got there about 40 minutes into the race (okay, so I didn't get up as early as I should have, but the 7:30 start time plus an hour's drive is very early for me!) and I cheered for runners for about half an hour. I made a sign that said "YOU'RE A SUPERSTAR!" and it seemed well-received! I am going to try to go to a race a month, I think. I personally find running insane, but I refuse to let an activity that is so harmless, and brings so many (crazy) people such happiness, be blackened by the horrors in Boston.
    I'll cheer for a marathon someday- for sure!

  3. Fabulous pictures as usual!! We were in London last year for the Marathon and we had a blast! Honestly, you just described every marathon I've ever been to. The runner's determination and emotion is contagious! When my husband ran his first, I cried when he finished!

  4. Omg this is amazing! I told myself I'd wait a couple of years before doing a marathon, but when I was watching the coverage on bbc I wanted to do it so bad even if it would take me all day! These pictures are so great; I actually laughed out loud at the camel!!! I was also tearing up reading your post. Something so inspiring about races that brings a tear to my eye!

  5. What a great post! Your pictures do a great job at trying to capture the moment (I'm sure it was better in person, but I can almost feel the energy from looking at them). I would never think to go watch a marathon if I didn't know anyone running, but it looks like it would be fun and motivating.

  6. Thanks, Emma. I've added to my list of things that must be done every year we are in London. 

  7. Thanks, Ashley! I had no idea either. But, what could be better. It was free and local. The participants were all ages, sizes, races, and abilities. The atmosphere was so positive and encouraging. It (almost) makes me want to run it someday. Although I should probably get my first 5K out of the way first. I love your blog by the way!! Thanks for reading & commenting!! xoxo

  8. Thanks, Taylor. It was so much fun to be there. I'm thinking it will be on my bucket list. But, I need to get my first 5K out of the way first (and actually start running regularly). I've signed up for Run Richmond Park on July 6th for the 5K. You should join in!! I was thinking the London Marathon is the perfect sporting event. It was free to watch and anyone can participate with a little hard work. If you run the London Marathon next year, I will so be there to cheer you on!! xoxo

  9. Hi, Katie... it was emotional for me and I didn't even know anyone. I can imagine watching a loved one cross the finish line must be so special! It just felt good to stand there and cheer people. I don't think we get to do that enough in life. (I might be tearing up again just thinking about it. Good grief!) xoxo

  10. Hi Gesci! I think it's so cool that you go to random races and cheer people on. That was the best part! I haven't yelled and cheered like that since high school and it felt so good. I got so many smiles and nods. One girl softly said "Bless you." It was so special. I do love running but I have no discipline. I've signed up for my first 5K (I never actually did the one that I signed up for last year.) I love the sign idea!! I'm sure you made their day :) xoxo

  11. Thanks, Anne Taite. I love that it's so open to anyone, no matter their age or abilities. Now I just really need to get more involved. Maybe find a (slow) running group here in London. 


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