The 40th Race - Virtual London Marathon

My first ever London Marathon albeit virtual as I cannot get in through the ballot, but ran with amazing friends – Izman, Jo and Hasan. This opportunity came about when VLM again due to Covid was postponed to October 2021. However, they opened an opportunity for anyone to run the race virtual on 4th October 2020. You had 24 hours to complete the 26.2 miles, from 00:00 to 23:59 on Sunday 4 October. You could run, walk, take breaks and log your race on a new London Marathon app. Runners could also use their time, with appropriate supporting evidence, to apply for a Good for Age or Championship place in 2021. We made sure we also tracked the run using our watch as we know anything can happen with apps e.g. crash or not actually work. Elite races for men, women and wheelchair athlete took place on an enclosed looped course in St James’s Park in a secure biosphere (a contained safe environment like that of Formula 1 and England cricket).

The wonderful Hasan planned the route which took us from Hampton Court to Tower Bridge – we passed lots of amazing areas (Battersea Park, Kew Bridge/Kew Gardens, Hammersmith Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Kingston Bridge, Chiswick Bridge, Richmond Lock, Richmond Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Embankment Bridge, Putney Bridge). 

I travelled to Waterloo to meet Jo and Izman and we caught the 7:57am train to meet Hasan at Hampton Court. First thing first, let us find a toilet to do a bladder check before we set off for the run. We then took a group photo in front of the beautiful Hampton Court Palace. Another set of runners parked their car in front with the same idea in mind! Generously the lady offered to take our photo for us! The last time I was here was about 3 years ago when I ran the Hampton Court Palace half marathon organised by Runthrough.

We all started the VLM app and our watch for backup because we already know how these things go. We set off along the Thames Path route. Believe it or not, there were so many other runners running the marathon. We all showed great support to each other. It was really, nice to see! At one point I said to Izman that it felt like a real race seeing so many other runners with their bibs on along the route.

It was great to see Danny Bent along the way. He was extremely focused along with his running friend. Was good to see a familiar face.

The rain did not ease off at all if anything it got worse throughout. At 15km, we stopped and changed into a fresh, dry pair of socks. That stayed dry for all of 2 mins. There were just lots of huge muddy puddles (just reminded me of Peppa Pig! If you know, you know lol). The muddy puddles calmed down as we came off the Thames path for a bit. The plan was to change socks every 10km but to be honest we couldn’t be bothered as it was a struggle enough the first time and they didn’t stay dry for long, so we just soldiered on really. You soon stop worrying about being wet and just get on with it. Was happy to have my Cap (Fractel – Florence Edition) as there is nothing worse besides your feet than rain streaming down your face and into your eyes.

Just before the 20km mark I developed a cramp in my right calf. At 21km – YIPEEE – halfway, we stopped to do some stretches and take in more nutrition. Hasan handed out some nutrition bars Aptonia from Decathlon. They were delicious! I will be buying them. We then carried on. I started to develop spasm like cramps too for which I had to walk each time it happened and then run when they subsided.

 Thank God for Izman’s company as he would walk with me when I had to and then run again. Jo and Hasan were slightly in front, but they kept turning round and reassuring me that if I needed to walk or stretch etc, then it’s not a problem at all. We would all stop/walk together whenever needed. You always feel like you are holding people back when situations like this happens but they all made it clear that it was not about the time but about sharing the experience together. This was also the first time that we had all run a marathon together. Get this, it was Izman’s 17th MARATHON! Its was mine and Hasan’s 3rd and Jo’s 4th.

Just before the 30km marked I slipped on a metal cover on the floor. Luckily, I was not running fast otherwise it would have been a different conclusion. I could not move as the cramp got worse. Everyone tried to help me up, but I was like ‘NO, don’t move me’ I could just feel my calf pulsating. About 30 seconds later, I stood up and started to walk again. Thank heavens, I did not land on my arse either LOL. I had one knee on the floor!!! At this point it was just a matter of walk, run, walk to get the miles completed.

My hands and feet were just so cold at this point so tried to continue to move as much as possible. Even with the walking part, it was literally 30 seconds walk and then run again.

The route was amazingly scenic, but my hands were so cold, I was too lazy to take any photos. Luckily, our best photographer Izman took some amazing photos of our route and us running.

We arrived at Tower Bridge at 40km. For the last 2.2km we did loops around the area. I still had 1km to go when Jo finished – GPS are so funny even through we all started at the same time. Hasan ran the last 1km with me and I did the last 400m on my own. I was so excited to finish I just went as hard as I could go without wanting to take another fall. I made sure that I went over the 42.2km just to be sure. I did not want to be short and then it did not count. That would have been the worst nightmare.

Our main photographer Izman took lots of amazing finishers photos with Tower Bridge in the background… just beautiful.

So, what next but… FOOD!  Jo recommended By Chloe, a plant-based restaurant. We had the Gacu burger with sweet potato fries. OMG it was delicious and would highly recommend. I for one, will be going back for more. My drink of choice was Earl Grey tea as I was absolutely freezing. Changed into a dry top and we all made our way home.


Round up


I could not have predicted how did this was going to pan out. All I knew is that I was going to share this journey with the most amazing people. I really had an amazing day and regardless of the soreness and rain, wet feet and clothes, some chaffing from wet clothes and the cramp, I would not change that day whatsoever. I truly believe that events like these and people like these are supposed to come into your life for a reason. I am ever so grateful to have met these guys over the past year and we have grown as a group and individuals so much. I could not have asked for a better support network on the day, and in day to day. These guys are always a text or phone call away and we truly do support each other with whatever, not just running related stuff.

This was my 3rd marathon  and in some ways it was harder than my first but better in more ways. I truly appreciate everyone I have met in the running community and will continue to share and support in anyway that I can.

 Amazing video put together using Go Pro by Izman - 40th Race of our day

Keep running/walking....




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