So, the London Marathon happened...a FRANK Water runner tells it like it is.

So, the London Marathon happened - and I did a) not die, and b) avoid being a bum by going the distance. The atmosphere IS as good as people say, a mix between a very British village fete and a rock concert...

People do shout your name (if you have it printed clearly on your chest) and give you high fives (especially kids – kids love a high five), moreso if you have stupid blue wig and yellow sunglasses... ; ) This positivity comes from all races / colours / creeds – it's awesome. One quartet of approx 5-10 year old girls with their mum loved my attire - they shrieked with delight. A few guys said 'come on Oliver, YOU can do it' in a way that let me know that they thought I could do it because I was willing to look like an idiot ('he who dares, rodders, he who dares...'). I tried to make eye contact and give at least a thumbs up to anyone that called my name – and if they made a comment along the lines of 'nice hair', I'd give my wig a quick push at the back (like it was my real hair)...

People give out snacks along the course – just for fun - jelly babies, cut-up bananas, were especially popular. St John's ambulance peeps gave out vaseline, held out so you can grab it as you pass (don't high five those ones...). I needed some for between my left arm and my torso – who knew? They give out energy gels at a couple of points which makes the ground comically sticky afterwards... Also, Lucozade need to make their stuff in smaller bottles, thousands of runners would take a swig of lucozade sport then discard the bottle – it's bonkers...

The music along the course was awesome – we had live caribbean bands, jazz bands, funk bands, steel bands, marching bands, karaoke singers, pubs with speakers out the window, my favourite of all was five slightly pissed toffs in tuxedos on a garden wall singing a terrible acapella version of 'Gold' by Spandau Ballet: awesome... People who headphoned up for the whole race might as well have been on a treadmill. 

I did listen to 'Fake Plastic Trees' by Radiohead about 2 miles from the end as an experiment – the song has a bad rep for being miserable but I actually find it really uplifting in a strange sort of happy-sad way... anyway, when it dit get to the awesome bit ('I could blow through the ce-i-ling...') running got a lot easier – it was like an aphrodisiac for my legs – weird – but after that song I wanted to actually be on the route with the people there as opposed to my own little world so I unplugged...

I was especially glad to see my mum (Charlotte) and sister (Emily) for a quick hug near tower bridge – that helped a lot (love you guys!)...

So many t-shirt (that I saw overtaking me) were for charities – it was quite moving to realise that so many thousands of people were trying to raise money for good causes – gives me hope for humanity in general:– I've decided that of all the foolish and unneccessary things that people do, organising a big running race is one of the best.

Here are some of my favourite signs / placards from along the route:

  • RUN LIKE YOU STOLE SOMETHING
  • RUN LIKE KATIE HOPKINS IS CHASING YOU
  • PAIN IS TEMPORARY, 26.2 MILES IS FOREVER
  • (two and a half hours in) THE KENYANS ARE DRINKING YOUR BEER
  • PAIN IS JUST A FRENCH WORD FOR BREAD
  • KEEP CALM AND MARATH-ON
  • (near the end) SHUT UP LEGS!
  • (near the end) YOU HAVE STAMINA – LET'S DATE!

People say mile 20 is the worst, but that's nonsense, mile 15-16 is the worst, because you spend the first half looking forward to halfway, which is also crossing tower bridge then passing the tower of london, and then you have to head AWAY from the finish line through millwall etc until you pass canary wharf, so that's just depressing on every level, and by then you're pretty trashed anyway (well, I was).

Physically, my thigh muscles did the most work – managed to keep a good posture all the way – walked some bits (life is a marathon, not a sprint, no? I want my knees to last another fifty years at least... ; ), got a bit of a sore neck, and the insides of my elbow hurt – probably cos I'd never run such a distance before. Post-race: stairs were my enemy (especially going down), but two days later they're becoming okay again...

Although my legs are a bit trashed I actually felt like I have more energy now than before – maybe it's true that the more energy you use, the more you have? If you eat / sleep right etc etc. Plus, having done a marathon, all the other challenges in my life seem a little easier, perception wise (which is nice)

Also, I'm glad I had a few photos courtesy of Emily (she's a legend) - don't rely on the official photographers – marathon foto charge £20 to download the image file of ONE PHOTO! (or £60 for all of the ones with you in). I have one photo from the site which I'm toying with the idea of photoshopping pixel by pixel, but there has to be a better way...

My time was 5 hours 21 mins: I 'beat' 5,000 other people to the finish. (Let's not worry about the 30,000 people who 'beat' me...). Race time is a funny one, because going slow has the twofold effect of keeping you further from the finish line AND you're going slow (and will likely continue to do so) – slowness seems to accelerate the time you'll take to complete...

I don't feel the need to do a marathon again any time soon (love the knees, respect the knees), but Berlin would be fun I reckon...

To take part in an event and raise money for FRANK Water, check out our events page or contact us today