Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Marathon Memorabilia

For many, the medal awarded at the end of a marathon is enough. They’ll either hang it somewhere with pride, or tuck it away for safekeeping, to be remembered at a future date (or not). For many others, however, collecting additional marathon memorabilia is almost as important as the race itself. Having items to remind themselves of their achievements, and to notify others that they have RUN A MARATHON!

I think I sit in the middle of these camps. When I finished the London marathon, my first 26.2, in 2012, my Mum presented me with a cute bracelet engraved with the words ‘So proud of you’, the date (although she forgot to get London Marathon etched in, and the bracelet is currently being amended). Since then, after NYCM and Paris she has given me similar bracelets with meaningful inscriptions. ‘So inspired by your determination and drive.’ ‘So worth it.’ I love wearing these as a daily reminder that if I set my mind to something, I can achieve it.

I love the idea of jewellery memorabilia, which is especially easy for the big city marathons, such as London, New York and Paris where jewellers already make a selection of souvenir accessories. This EiffelTower charm would make a great addition to my Links necklace!  

At the NYCM and Paris marathon expos I also picked up some race ‘stash’. New York in particularly has an incredible array of marathon merchandise, from headbands and waterbottles to Nike tops and trainers. I admit to going a little overboard in NYCM, but was far more restrained in Paris, purchasing a single marathon t-shirt.

Additionally, the Paris marathon are offering a special Asics t-shirt complete with printed bib and your official finishing time. I think this is a lovely idea for those than want them, and not one I've seen at other races but am sure they exist. 

Some of my running friends have come up with some incredible marathon souvenirs including tattoo’s of the Eiffel Tower to commemorate their first marathon.  This photo is of Lissy’s brand new tattoo, and I think a few of the other girls are following suit in a few days/weeks time.

Leah found this specialised hook for her hard fought medal.

Artwork depicting the city that they ran it- I love these abstract prints! (another of Leah’s awesome finds!) 

I have to admit, I am planning on getting my marathon bibs framed to hang in our bathroom or bedroom. I thought Tom would hate this, but he actually wants to get his first half marathon bib framed as well. I figure its more incentive for him to sign up to a full marathon too! I know that there are quite a few companies out there, such as frameyourrace,  that will frame your bib and medal together, however I think that could turn pricey. I love my medal holder with the mishmash of 5ks, halfs and fulls crammed together.

What marathon or race memorabilia have you seen/bought/lusted after? Here’s a great blog post of other ideas of what to do with your race bibs and medals.

Monday, 14 April 2014

London Marathon 2014

Wow, watching the London Marathon yesterday brought back a number of memories from my first marathon there in 2012. Whilst cheering from the sidelines, I wished that I was running the streets too. It's safe to say that it was an inspiring and emotional day, especially as it is the first time I've watched the London Marathon as a 'runner'. I found myself welling up on numerous occasions, screaming encouragement and feeling the pain.

There was a lot of hype around this year's London Marathon, with Mo Farah taking on the distance for the first time, as well as numerous others vying for course and world records.

I'd arranged to meet Zoe to cheer with her around the 6 mile mark. Just before I left I got a message from Katy asking if I could bring some sunglasses for her as she'd forgotten hers. Battling with my rather large sign, I managed to snap up a place just after the mile 6 water station (this was an error, numerous water bottles were launched in my direction throughout the morning!)

Spot the mistake!!

This was the mantra that got me through my first marathon, and I had a lot of comments, photos and thanks for the poster yesterday!

Around 9.45 the elite women ran past me, before the elite men pushed through just before 10.30. Haile Gabrselassie was pacing the front group of the men (I was lucky enough to get to go for a run with him a few months ago, read about it here.)

Mo, who was back in the third pace group, got by far the biggest cheer from the crowd when he ran past. If you followed any of the day's activities, you'll know that Mo finished in 8th place, just after Emmanuel and Geoffrey Mutai. Sophie and I were a little overexcited about meeting them just 4 days before the marathon.

They told us that London isn't as fast as some other courses because of the number of turns along the course, however the finish can be speedy because of a few downhills towards the end. Their ideal race day would be between 11 and 15 degrees with little wind. Emmanuel (on the right) actually runs the full marathon distance in training for his longest run, whilst Geoffrey runs 40K as his longest run. They seemed so friendly and sweet- so nice to hear about their experiences so close to marathon day!

After the elites ran past me- Zoe was stuck on the other side of the road at this point- I cheered through the masses, including my friend Ben, Laura and saw Katy to hand over some sunglasses and receive a sweaty hug! I loved watching those in fancy dress- I'm so tempted to run a marathon in costume one day!

I definitely have new found respect for my parents, Tom and all other marathon spectators after really struggling to pick out my friends in the crowd today. I completely missed most of them sadly.

I've never watched the runners right until the back, having usually been racing off to see friends at another location. There are a number of absolute superstars bringing up the rear, powering on despite being overtaken by the sweeper van. The roads are being cleared, the mile markers taken down, aid stations broken up, and yet they press on. In my opinion, anyone that finishes is an absolute legend.

Darren, Zoe's boyfriend, has been running 8 marathons in 8 days. He and his friend, Henry, have completed the Paris marathon, run to London then took part in the London marathon, raising money for Asthma UK. Unfortunately, injury struck this week meaning that he had to hobble around the course today. He bravely pushed on, completing the London marathon (and therefore his challenge) in 6.47! He is an absolute hero.

London looked absolutely gorgeous today in the sunshine, although it was a little too hot to be perfect marathon conditions. Congratulations to everyone that ran, supported, cheered, followed on tv or online. It's the people that make a marathon, and London makes a bloody good one! 
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