Monday, April 14, 2014

34th London Marathon 2014

The sun shone bright and the skies were pure blue in the early hours of the 13th of April. Looks like yet another promising day for the Virgin London Marathon and it was. It was also rather warm by the time the elite runners came running round Limehouse and the crowd had already gathered with cheers, claps and even some live music. It was like a great street party - the biggest happiest street party in London. Even the people living in the houses opened their windows and played party music. I could hear Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now', Rocky's Theme and appropriate motivational songs in the air.

This year's London Marathon is a little special as it will be the last we witness it right outside our home - a little sad but bittersweet.

Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba 02:20:35
Managed to catch the elite women's but missed Mo Farah and the men's as I stepped out of the street for a few minutes to feed Clara. It was an impressive line up of runners too - world record holder Wilson Kipsang, World and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich, defending London champion Tsegaye Kebede, and London course record holder Emmanuel Mutai, not to mention the two-times New York Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai. The women's the line up is equally impressive with the 2012 Olympic champion Tiki Gelana, the double world champion Edna Kiplagat, and the twice Berlin champion and newly-minted world half marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat among defending champion Priscah Jeptoo’s main opponents.

This year we had different categories of paralympian runners as well which was the first I've seen in the London Marathon.  Apparently this is the 2nd time the IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup on 13 April is held as part of the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon but I missed last year's hence why didn't realise.  In addition to the annual wheelchair race featuring T53-T54 athletes, this new event will also feature IPC Athletics classes T42-46 (leg and arm amputees) and T11-T13 (visually impaired) for both men and women and in 2014 the recent incorporation of the T51-T52(also wheelchair) event into the Marathon World Cup.

Gabrial Macchi from Portugal in the T11-T12 Category 02:40:24

The atmosphere was fantastic and I felt nostalgic about my own marathon experiences. I think I'll try again for the marathon and specifically for London as it has such great crowd support.
Ethiopians Feysa Tadese 02:21:42 and Aberu Kebede 02:23:21
This time I was on the other side of the road -unknown elite runner Paulo Roberto (BRA)
It was also Palm Sunday so Mass was pushed to the evening at 6pm. Surprisingly this year, there weren't any stragglers - 5 pm the streets were clean of people (either the unfit was surprisingly fitter this year or they were killed off by the heat). Another great event ending on the perfect note.