After getting serious FOMO that pretty much all of my friends were doing the London Marathon (I have no idea why as I had done Brighton the weekend before and my legs were still battered) I started to search for a magical entry. Unfortunately I couldn’t trick anyone into giving me a place but I then stumbled across nohtaraM ehT. The Marathon just back to front, starting at the finish and finishing at the start. The instructions for the start were slightly ominous, meet at McDonald’s on the Strand at either 2am, 3am or 4am, don't worry there will be other runners there the posts said.
After setting my alarm for 2am and having a midnight snack, I don’t think it can quite be called breakfast at that time, I headed for the night bus. Getting on a night bus whilst clad in lycra and stone cold sober is an interesting experience and one that everyone should undertake at least once in their lives. On the way over I checked the Facebook group and found that McDonalds was closed so I headed straight for Birdcage walk. I arrived just before 4am and I was the first one there. Suddenly out of the shadows appeared a man asking if I was there to run, na mate I just like to hang around the streets in lycra at 4am ;). Slowly a few more nutters dressed in running kit began to appear. Normally the start would be sounded by the chime of Big Ben but as he is out of action the stranger from the shadows who turned out to be one of the founders and the ‘official’ starter had found a very budget recording of it from YouTube. The chime sounded and then 10 of us that dared to run the London Marathon in reverse headed into the dark streets of London.
As we wound our way through the streets the marathon started to come alive. The barriers started to get erected, people were trying to hold down bunches of balloons with sheer determination that they weren’t going to drift away like Carl from Up, banners were getting cable tied by volunteers who were surprisingly happy at 4am and stacks of water was being unloaded from the trucks in anticipation for the extremely hot day that the runners were going to have ahead of them.
We got slightly navigationly challenged around Canary Wharf as our blue line suddenly disappeared luckily one of the London Midnight Runners came to the rescue and got us back on course.
As we got nearer and nearer to Greenwich the atmosphere increased. There were no spectators around Cutty Sark but tons of volunteers, media and officials cheering us on. The final 6 miles were wonderful as the sun had started to rise and we would glimmers of it through the buildings as we wound our way through the streets. After a final climb we made it to Blackheath and I had completed the nohtaraM ehT in 3:33:34.
As we arrived there were streams and streams of runners arriving and you could feel the nervous energy in the air as they didn’t quite know what lay before them. I am not going to lie I felt quite smug that my run was done and dusted and I was looking forward to spending the rest of the day in the sunshine with the Clapham Chasers Cheers Squad.
If you don’t get a place in the London Marathon next year then why not give this a go?
McDonalds, The Strand or The Institute of Mechanical Engineers on Birdcage Walk (the guys meeting at McDonalds jog over to Birdcage walk)
2am – if you think it will take you between 5 – 6 hrs to do a marathon
3am – if you think it will take you 4 – 5 hrs to do a marathon
4am - if you think it will take you 3 – 4 hrs to do the marathon
The aim is to get to the start by 8am so just pick the group that best suits you and have fun!