The morning of the race I woke up so nervous. My stomach in twists and turns. After my weetabix, banana and coffee the feeling still remained. My first marathon.
My stomach was still full of nerves and gut wretching feeling. As well as that I was over thinking every single aspect. Will it be too hot? Will there be enough water stations? Will I be fit enough? Did I train enough? Will I run injury free? Will I finish? Will I stop?
The night before while putting my gear together I decided that I was going to run in the hydration bag. Just in case.
Packed a few of my own gels, so I knew the brand and what works well for me. Very important that. Stick to what you know.
Two water bottles, one full of water and the other an electrolyte drink. I also brought my sun glasses. Knowing the route. If it gets too hot, sunny or windy the sunglasses will help massively.
We travelled down to the Festival Fields where the starting line was. Great atmosphere everyone laying on the grass with their families. Amazing to see on a wide scale the variety of runners, what their wearing, different runners routines, stretching and many warming up.
Registered my place. Not many for the marathon. Only crazy people would do that. Many for the half marathon. I so felt proud of them. Many of them will be running their first and a great day to do it. Knowing exactly what they’re going through. Having been there myself.
Then the local celebrity of running community was there. Matthew Rees. The Swansea Harrier who made the news for helping the runner in the London marathon. A truly inspiring man and one that everyone was on the look out for.
The marshalls called us in the pens. Still so nervous. Hundreds of runners in the pen. I met two runners one who was running her first half and the other running just running another marathon. Everyone in the pens, supporting eachother, wishing eachother good luck. Nerves still going mad. Stomach still turning.
Siren went off….
All my nerves went away. Every feeling I had washed away. As soon as the siren went of, I was focused on my race. Switched everything off. This Just proves there’s nothing to fear apart from fear itself. Feeling that way for hours for no reason. No reason whatsoever. Why?
The route went down towards Burry Port harbour. Great thing was I knew this route. I’ve trained on it so many times. I knew what to expect, so I ran steadily and easy.
Everyone running off getting in the atmosphere and adrenaline. I knew this would affect me so I made sure I held back and hold my pace It’s only a few miles. Loads more to go. Don’t wanna crash to early.
Mile 4 came. My first time to take my gels. Normally everyone takes there’s every hour. I knew mine was every 40 minutes. This would give me enough energy and would break up the time in my head.
Coming out of Burry Port the weather was amazing. Facing the beach. Families on the beach, dog walkers and cyclists all making use of the fantastic weather.
Heading towards the Machynys route. Matthew Rees passed me for the first time. So quick his pace. He was also with a fellow harrier who was competing in the half. The others starting to pass me. Didn’t care at all.
All that I was concentrating on was my pace, my race and enjoying the marathon. Appreciate it. It’s my first, will never get this feeling again. A newcomer to the marathon scene.
All the way through the marshalls and spectators were cheering non stop. Many people I knew cheering me on. Many photographers and well wishers just supporting anyone. Water stations constantly busy and quick on hand to offer water. It was a hot day so dehydration was a big factor.
Now back towards Burry Port harbour. Now the fun starts. When you past the starting line its mile 13. So if you were racing the half you would turn right and collect your medal. If your running the marathon. Straight on.
As I ran passed I saw so many happy faces. All the half marathoners with the medals. All red faced and smiling with their medals on. I was proud of them. I was proud of myself. I was at the halfway mark and I felt great. Really great and most importantly strong.
Now back to Burry Port. I felt strong. Still foccused. Passing all the supporters, all full of smiles. This kept me positive, happy and upbeat. Knowing full well I was due to hit the 16 mile mark. After many training attempts this tends to be where I would be ‘hitting the wall’. This is always where I would struggle. Mentally and physically.
Mile 16 came and I felt amazing. No wall. Mentally In a great place. Enjoying myself. Enjoying the run. Cheering other runners on. Other runners cheering me on.
Running towards me was this kid. He was only say 6 or 7. Running to give me water and a gel. Heading out of the water station just to help me. He was so pleased and It made me so happy. A 6 year old. Thank you.
10 more miles that’s all. When I finish this i’ll have a personal best. Soon I’ll be able to say I’ve ran a marathon. A medal to prove it. I do love medals.
Now back to Machynys. This I think is my favourite part of the race. Just knowing I’ve only got an hour left of running. Going down and turning at the final point was an accomplishment in itself. No more turns.
Running towards me was the guy I met in the starting pen. We high fived. Wishing each other good luck.
Now my final three miles. Only three more miles, I’ve run 23. 3 more won’t kill me. Half an hour left of running that’s all.
There was this strange feeling. It was euphoric in fact. Realising how much you have left. How much I have ran. How much I’ve progressed. A year ago on this very path I would be running for the first time. Struggling to run even 3 miles. Now I’m running my first marathon. It felt great. Now let’s finish it.
Heading towards the finish line was amazing. You can hear the roar of the crowd, the marshalls and families. As I got closer my favourite song came on. ‘Noel gallagher – everybody’s on the run’. When it played was an amazing feeling and pushed me on to finish the timing was mad. Fate in fact. I finished strong. Really strong. I felt amazing.
I’ve just ran 26 miles. Without stopping. 5 hours of running. The best thing and hardest thing i’ve ever done. My first marathon a huge success. Recieveng my medal and pictures with the family was great. Awesome experience.
Matthew went on to win the race. His first marathon win. The other swansea harrier won the half marathon. A successful day for them as well as others I can imagine. Lots of firsts, many personal bests and great achievements.
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