The gun of the 2011 marathon is now a mere two days and 15 hours away, according to the countdown clock on the VLM website. I took a trip to ExCel today to pick up my number. This might be my fifth London, but I still feel a tingle of nervous excitement when I hear The Trap – the anthem of the London Marathon – blasting from the speakers.
That reminds me, I’ll be hearing Heather Small’s Proud a few times before the weekend is out. And Search for the Hero. And Chariots of Fire. Still, it affirms that London isn’t just another race; this is one of the greatest races on the planet, a day when 36,000 people are bound by the identical goal – to run 26.2 miles.
The exhibition at the ExCel is, unfortunately, a corporate jungle. Virgin branding is everywhere. Same story as regards Adidas. And what happened to all the freebies? I’m sure there used to be more stash flying about at registration in previous years. A goody bag containing a Mars Bar (useful) and a can of London Pride (not) was all runners got this year. Another victim of the economic downturn, perhaps?
I am also discovering what it is to be a ‘championship’ runner for the first time. We have a ‘rest and changing marquee’ in the Blue assembly area, apparently, and can use Shooters Hill Road to warm up. Very nice! I’ll try to enjoy the relative luxury – unless I run a sub-2,45 marathon or sub-1,15 half, I’ll never be there again.