Marathons: Paul #37, Leah #27 : London Marathon 2014
13th April 2014, London, UK
Finish Time = 4:25:26
After running a marathon just 7 days prior, still with a foot injury and with this one not counting towards our US States total, we decided not to focus on a sub 4 at London. Without having a time goal and as the Katie Piper Foundation wasn’t there for this year, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to instead join in the carnival atmosphere of London and run in costume!
We had decided on Captain America as the theme, ironically appropriate we felt, although I think I had come out worst-off with a hot, 100% polyester suit complete with padded stuffing in the muscles and a face mask hat. Of course it wouldn’t be complete without running with the shield too.
As I changed into the suit in the starting area I was well aware of the predictions for a hot, sunny day. An ideal day for the London Marathon and for packing the streets with supporters, not so ideal for my suit. As we made our way to the starting pens, out of tens of thousands of people, I bumped into Amie Crews who I hadn’t seen since school, some 18 years ago. Well, she spotted me first which I guess must have been easier with the costume on.
We made our way to the pens, I had been assigned to a fast pen based on my best marathon time but I decided to go down to a slightly slower one. The race official told me my pen was further up, I said “Yeah, that was before I decided to wear this”. He looked at me, laughed, and said “Fair point” and let me in.
From the moment we started we had people shouting out “Captain America!!”. Throughout the run we had it constantly as well as words of surprise given the heat and the sun of the day. The kid’s faces lighting up were the best, or the fathers holding up their little ones and pointing us out and we’d wave to their surprised looks. Regardless of how tough or hot it was going to get, I knew it was worth it even after seeing the first child’s face. It felt good to be entertaining the kids and giving something back to the crowds that always make the effort to come out and cheer the runners on. A lot of the kids (and some adults too) would shout out for high-fives as we ran past and I had several runners on the course saying that I must be roasting and giving me their encouragement.
Some of the funniest shout-outs were to Leah. People weren’t sure what to call her, so they’d shout “GO Captain America and … Captain … America.. ess… woman!!”. She also got a lot of “wonder woman” shouts, which is understandable. My funniest was probably “GO… ummm… errr… A Man?” (due to the “A” on my hat). That, combined with when I decided to go into the portaloo just as someone shouted “Captain America!…umm..going.. for a pee…?!”. That actually took me about 5 minutes, as getting the costume off in the tiny portaloos and then trying to pull it back on again afterwards was a challenge to say the least.
One person apparently thought we were Batman and Catwoman, what films they watch I’m not too sure.
It was definitely tough having run a marathon just the weekend before and my (suspected stress-fractured) foot did still hurt a lot, but it was London, one of the greatest marathons in the world. The non-stop atmosphere completely distracts you from that and the crowds are amazing. Also London itself is fantastic on a sunny day.
Running at a slower pace in the middle of the pack did have its downsides though. There were sections where it was just too busy and we got crushed together, people were tripping and falling over each other and earlier on in the race we’d stopped by the side to talk to my Uncle and cousin who were marshalling and we got run over by an amateur wheelchair racer! He’d run over the back of my heel, leaving it painful and physically ripped the side of Leah’s shoe from running over her foot.
As we were getting towards the end of the race, while I was still absolutely loving the support and the cheers for us in costume, I definitely felt like after this I was looking forward to not hearing the words “Captain America!” again for a long time. Over 4 hours of having it shouted to you non-stop every few seconds was definitely losing some of its original charm.
As we rounded Buckingham Palace and ran to the finish gates down Birdcage Walk the camera focused right in on us and they put us up on the big screen with “Team America” captioned underneath. I was sure it was the live TV feed and that we’d be on TV.
We finished in 4 hours 25 minutes, definitely pretty good all things considered.
We still had random people taking pictures of us even at the end of the race even while we were stretching out!
We had recorded the highlights programme and the entire live programme and the next day I carefully watched the whole thing only to find they finished the live broadcast just as we came into the picture:
I’m really glad we did a marathon in costume and that it was London. It was tough, but worth it and made London 2014 a special experience which I definitely won’t forget.
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