We've come to our final installment for the 2014 London Marathon Series! Our guest blogger, supporter and runner Catherine Raynor, is here to tell us how it felt, after all those weeks, to complete the London Marathon...
"I did it!"
6 hours, 1 minute and 28 seconds. That was the time on the clock! Although I think it would have been a quite a bit less had I not stopped for so many hugs, chats and photos along the way. The most ridiculous time wasting moment was probably stopping to chat to my flatmate at mile 22 to tell her that if I sped up I'd get in under 6 hours. Mmm, yes Raynor, maybe stop standing around talking about that and move! But it was never about the time for me, it was the finishing and the fundraising, and all those faces in the crowd and the hugs and the pictures, added to the totally remarkable experience. I am not sure my writing capabilities are up to fully articulating the amazement of the day, but here are some of the highlights:
- Overtaking a Womble!
- The first glimpse of my family leaping around at mile 9. They all looked so happy!
- My flatmate Claire almost leaping into the road at mile 12 and yelling "Oh my God, you're running a marathon!"
- Being lost in thought and not realising the bend I was rounding was taking me onto Tower Bridge. That first sight of it, glistening and blue in the sun, will stay with me for a long time!
- Seeing my friends (and marathon mentors!) Sarah and Paul on Narrow Street. I was there a year ago with Paul to watch Sarah and it was completely amazing to see them there waiting for me. I wish I'd stopped to talk to them for longer, but they're both uber runners so they'd probably have told me off!
- Spotting so many familiar faces from charities that I have worked with or for - our sector is full of the smiliest, loudest and most brilliant people.
- My brother telling me at mile 19 that I was behind a man running with a fridge on his back.
- The whole of Team Catherine at the Pancreatic Cancer stand at mile 24. Special shout outs to Julie, Kerry, Richard, Polly and Zoe - I was proud to run with John, Lorraine and Tilly's initials on my vest!
- The Embankment. Seeing the river, the London Eye, Big Ben and the mile 25 sign and feeling and hearing the goodwill and noise from the crowd is utterly remarkable. I'd do it again just for that bit!
- Rounding the bend onto the Mall, less because the finish line is approaching (although that's good!) and more for the feeling of realising that you've actually done it!
The most overwhelming aspect of this whole experiences continues to the fundraising - the total now stands at an utterly amazing £6365.58. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated. You can still give if you want to at www.justgiving.com/catherineraynor
Here are some pictures of the day, including my marathon manicure, for those of you who donated in someone's memory.
If you've enjoyed reading Catherine's exploits and are motivated to sign up to a run yourself, check out our Fundraising section for more details!