So yesterday was a glorious, sunny day perfect for watching a Marathon. I’m not sure whether it was perfect weather for running a marathon, as it was slightly warm, but I’ll come back to that later.
We were watching from a position between the samba band and the first aid lady dishing out Vaseline. She wasn’t forcing it on anyone – she just had a rubber glove on with a huge lump of vas on the end of her fingers (as if she was about to do a body cavity search on a cow) and the runners would stop, help themselves and apply it to the part of their anatomy in need of some TLC.
Watching the marathon is always interesting…
You get the front runners: you can’t fathom how anyone can run as fast as the maximum speed on the treadmill for two hours, it’s crazy. It’s these guys that make you understand the gap between elite athletes and everyone else: trying to keep up with these guys would be like trying to tackle an England rugby player.
Then you get the three to four hour guys, they’re shifting- they’re usually regular folks with an affinity for running and have done their preparation well.
Then there are the costume wearers – the lunatics! Every time I see someone dressed as a bathtub or a Tellytubby doing the race I feel bad for not sponsoring them personally, and just hope that all the they managed to raise at least £1000 for running for four hours in a furry suit!
And then there are people look like they regret ever getting roped into it! Every step looks painful- their strides look like the Tin Man from Oz in need of some serious lubrication (they clearly should’ve stopped at the Vaseline lady). It’s watching these people run marathons that makes me sure it’s bad for you- your knees, your ankles- your face from all the grimacing.
So despite the fact that it was probably a bit toasty to run 26.2 miles, what the good weather meant was that there were loads of spectators. And from what I saw- spectators were like rocket fuel to the average runner struggling along. Anyone with their name printed on their vest would get non-stop encouragement throughout the entire route, and you can see them lifted every time a complete stranger shouted their name.
One young girl was keen to high five as many runners as she could as they went past. You saw literally hundreds of adults make a beeline for her outstretched palm with a big smile on their face. It was like when a child sees a character at Disneyland but in reverse. What this one girl did for morale was amazing.
So what’s my point? Well… There’s no one high fiving you on your training runs. There are no crowds of strangers yelling your name when you get in from an 18 miler on a cold drizzly Sunday. And there’s definitely no one cheering you on at the start line at 5:30am on a Tuesday morning when you have to get a cheeky six miles done in order to keep your race prep on track.
I’ve got nothing but respect for everyone that ran yesterday, it was a brilliant event and there were thousands of runners taking part. Whether you smashed a personal best under three and a half hours or you rocked in after six hours of agonising shuffling, great work dude. I just hope you got to high five the kid with the sweatiest hand in Hove along the way!
Alex “more hand sanitiser required” Backhouse