Congratulations to everyone who took part in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon. It was fantastic to see this iconic event back on the calendar and so many people taking part, both on the streets of London and virtually around the world.
Against Breast Cancer’s team put in a fantastic effort, posting some great times, achieving personal goals, one Guinness world record and, of course, raising vital funds for our research into secondary spread, the main cause of breast cancer related deaths.
We asked Jason, one of our runners who tragically lost his wife Angela to breast cancer, to share his London marathon experience;
“What an amazing London Marathon experience it turned out to be. The training had been done and the miles run on roads, trails, fields and old cycle paths. It began early on the Saturday morning with a drive down to London to head for the Excel to register. The weather was wet and cool but that was due to change for the next day. Thousands of other potential marathon runners were crammed into the exhibition halls at excel queuing to drop off their bag and collect the all-important number with timing chip. After a couple of hours the deed had been done and we headed off for a pre- run meal near tower bridge.
Back to the Travelodge to get some sleep before the big day itself. Race day was cloudy but the omens were good. Trains were running like clockwork and runners were heading to Greenwich park for the mass start. It was a quiet frenzy of novice runners and more experienced ones looking slightly more confident. All had a story of tell- a relative lost to cancer or covid or a close friend in need of support. They had been waiting for this day. As runners entered the area at the red start it was certainly a colourful sight. Runners with their favourite charity tops and some with fancy dress. The pens held them in place until they were given the nod. It worked like you would expect with the army of helpers and red wave 8 began towards the start at 10.08-10.11 as expected. As we reached the gate is was time to start the watches and begin that marathon journey.
Mile 1 was a quiet affair as we settled into a rhythm. There were deviations to the portaloos as runners got prepared for a long run. The roads were quiet but it was a time to reflect on the run ahead. Before long the crowds were cheering and the km were racing by. Approaching cutty sark there was an incredible buzz from the hundreds of spectators. They were 4 or 5 deep and sharing energy through encouragement. It was a spectacular sight to witness. The run took us further along residential streets with music playing and people hanging from the railings to cheer us on. Bagpipes, Morris dancers. Rock choir and the never to forget sound of the steel drum bands provided an awesome and thunderous backdrop to the race. Turning into tower bridge there was a increase sense of excitement from runners and those watching. The noise was electric as we went up and over the bridge. People lined all sides and my personal spectators were located on the lower left side. Time allowed for just a quick hello, hug and to collect a gel.
Onwards and upwards towards the financial district – the sights and sounds along the river. We twisted and turned through the streets before turning back along embankment passing many other coming the other way at the 23 mile mark. The crowds were even more deafening and shouting encouragement to those still in need of some verbal support. The final 3.1 miles or parkrun distance was a challenging but rewarding ordeal leading into the mall and the finish line. Just time to take a couple of photos before crossing the line and stopping the watch.
Thank you to all of our London Marathon runners this year, your extraordinary fundraising achievements will play a vital role in helping us to achieve our goal, a future free from breast cancer.Pat and Tony Leathem, co-founders of Against Breast Cancer
Wow – that was it. Marathon and fundraising achievement done. Time to recover and reflect. Certainly a privilege to be in the streets of London with all the support. A colleague was right- trust the process. If the training has been done you will be successful. All that needed to happen was to hang the medal and meet friends and family to share my tales of an extraordinary 4 and a bit hours on the streets of London. Plus enter ballot for next year….definitely maybe!
Thanks London Marathon 2021.”
If, like Jason you are interested in running the 2022 London Marathon for Against Breast Cancer we would be delighted to have you on our team. We will provide you with the support you need to get the most out of your London Marathon experience. It’s the reason many people return to us year after year.Apply to join our London Marathon team in 2022