Countdown to the London Marathon
In the days before the 35th London Marathon, team SSAFA runner Chrissy Braun joins thousands of other participating runners as they flock to the Excel Centre for the Marathon Expo to register for the big day. Here she tells us how she is counting down to the race.
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I decided to go during the opening morning on Wednesday, before the big weekend crowds arrived, and within five minutes of arrival I whizzed through a nonexistent line to receive my race number and timing chip. I didn’t expect to get everything done so quickly and it left me lots of time to wander around to see everything there was to see.
The London Marathon Expo is a great place to visit if you're a runner, even if you aren't doing London this year. In addition to exhibits and interactive activities to get people excited for the day, it offers lots of great deals on trainers, clothing and other essentials, as well as information about other marathons around the world and charities looking for people to run and fundraise.
Visitors can also benefit from talks and demonstrations from some high profile experts. As I was making my way through the exhibit area, I caught a talk with David Weir, Paralympic gold medallist, and wheelchair winner of six London Marathons. I was lucky enough to see him compete at the London Paralympics in 2012, so hearing his interview was an unexpected bonus to the day.
The best part of the expo, however, is being among your fellow runners – people who are sharing the same kind of nervousness and excitement, and many who have the same questions and concerns. It’s very much worth talking to the people around you. Not only can you hear some interesting stories, but you can learn a lot as well.
There are just a couple of days left until the marathon. After months of training, all there is left to do now is rest, carb load and look forward to the day. It’s a strange place to be mentally and emotionally – the challenge still needs to be completed but there is nothing more to do other than wait. And it’s hard not to feel guilty about cutting back the training after building up for so long!
The London Marathon has always been one of my favourite days of the year. It’s when the city is at its best and every year I look forward to getting out there to cheer on the runners. So I’m delighted to finally be running the course after being a spectator for so long. The fact that I am running for SSAFA will make the experience even more meaningful.
Very best of luck to everyone running on Sunday 26 April, especially to the members of teamSSAFA who have been working hard to raise money in support of the UK’s Armed Forces Family.
You can sponsor Chrissy by visiting her fundraising page.