My first London Marathon was everything I had hoped it would be. Everything about it was top drawer, with one exception... It was just too crowded! I understand that this is one of, if not THE biggest marathon in the world, but at times it was ridiculously congested.
I expected congestion at the start, but even during the last 5k i was still struggling to get past people to hit my sub 3:45 target. In some places the marshalls did not keep the spectators off the orads either which made things even tighter.
Having said all of that, I absolutely loved my overall experience of running the London Marathon. Right from attending the Expo on the Thursday through to achieving my target by 23 seconds with a 3:44:37 and getting my hard earned medal at the finish.
The organisation at the Red Start was excellent and a lot less trouble than I was expecting. It only took 10 minutes to get across the start from Pen 6 and not the expected 30 minutes. Facilities were good - I went to the loo 4 times (!) and never had to wait longer than a minute.
Once the race got underway I started to see London and Londoners in a new light. The crowd support was absolutely unreal and kept me going when I had difficult moments. The course hit all the right points and there was never any danger of getting lost!
I have a minor gripe about the water points but it is more about other runners being a bit daft and suddenly swerving from one side of the road to the other to get water (usually from the first person) rather than using both sides of the road and the full considerable length of the station.
I didn't use any of the Lucozade products but they seemed to be plentiful.
The finishing stretch was fabulous although the bit along the Embankment seemed to last for ever.
Awesome medal, slightly strange but good quality finisher's t-shirt and a pretty nice goody bag with a range of food and drink options.
My bag was delivered to me by a very nice man who brought it nearly 30 yards from the lorry when he saw me wandering by.
Upon leaving the finisher's area, carnage ensued with 1000s of people ignoring requests to stay away from the exit points and meet elsewhere which made it a bit of struggle to get past on very tired legs.
None of my gripes take away from what was an amazing day. I'll certainly be entereing the ballot to try and get a place again after running for a charity this time.
You can read a more in depth summary of my day on my blog: https://cainoruns.wordpress.com